March 27 - The London theatre industry is promoting a line-up of productions and special offers ahead of this summer's Olympic and Paralympic Games through a new campaign called "Don't Miss The Real Show in 2012".
The Society of London Theatre (SOLT) is looking to maximise the opportunity to attract more theatregoers to their productions in a year when the Queen is celebrating her Diamond Jubilee, as well as the arrival of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in the English capital.
SOLT is working with the London Mayor's office, London 2012, Transport for London (TfL), London & Partners and VisitBritain to make the public aware of the productions and offers available during Olympics year.
In total 2,012 of the 8,000 volunteers who are part of Mayor Boris Johnson's London Games Ambassadors Programme were given free theatre tickets between January 16 and February 10.
The initiative could also go some way to helping TfL alleviate the strain on the capital's transport network during London 2012.
They require a significant reduction in passenger numbers in certain parts of London in order to cope with the demand expected during the Games.
However, London 2012 and London's theatre network have been keen to point out that some areas, such as Covent Garden – where most of the capital's theatres are situated (pictured, above) – will not be particularly affected by the arrival of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Many workers are also being encouraged to take advantage of London's attractions, such as the theatre, during the Games to avoid crowded tube journeys home at peak times.
Mark Rubinstein, President of SOLT, said: "London's theatreland has entered 2012 in excellent health, with our current Get Into London Theatre promotion already taking more than £1 million ($1.6 million/€1.2 million).
"However, we are conscious that the year ahead will be uniquely different and present a new set of challenges, which means it may not be an easy year for many of our members.
"We are working hard to deliver the campaigns, information and infrastructure required to encourage and enable millions to enjoy a night out at one of London's outstanding shows alongside the excitement of the Games and beyond."
"London theatre is the jewel in the capital's crown, and our ambassadors will have a key part to play in ensuring Londoners and visitors alike know what's on during a summer like no other," said London Mayor Boris Johnson (pictured, below).
"From the World Shakespeare Festival to feel-good musicals, and hard-hitting plays to rip-roaring comedies, there's something for everybody.
"As London takes centre stage on the international map, our world-beating theatre is just the ticket, with gold-medal performances every night."
A number of events will be run throughout 2012 designed to attract new audiences to the West End.
Efforts have been made in recent years to encourage younger people to visit the theatre, and 19-25- year-olds in possession of a free Entry Pass can buy tickets at the National Theatre for only £5 ($8/€6).
West End LIVE and Kids Week in the West End will be part of the Cultural Olympiad's London 2012 Festival.
West End Live takes place in Trafalgar Square in London from June 23 to 24, featuring the cast of every West End musical performing for free.
The Kids Week in the West End initiative is celebrating its 15th birthday in 2012 by extending its Kids Go Free offer throughout August.
Ruth Mackenzie, Director of the London 2012 Festival, said: "2012 will offer some incredible cultural opportunities, which are simply unmissable.
"With more than 50 theatres offering world-class entertainment every night, London's theatreland offers a unique experience that is not to be missed.
"A trip to a show is a must for every visitor to the Games."
SOLT's official London Theatre website – www.dontmisstherealshow.com – features a collection of shows as well as a TFL and SOLT travel guide for customers during the Games.
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]
March 2012: Society of London Theatre aim to keep business as usual during London 2012