Covid theater closures left Lloyd Webber with £28m loss | City & Business | Finance
The supremo behind Cats, Evita and Jesus Christ Superstar has fought to keep shows running throughout repeated lockdowns. But his company LW Theaters reported a huge pre-tax deficit for the year through last June, as closures cut revenue by 97%.
LW also saw attendance at its six London venues drop from 1.5 million to just 33,000 over the 12 month period.
But Lord Lloyd Webber, 74, believes profits will “rise significantly” now that Covid restrictions have been lifted and the public are returning.
The company said: “While we are delighted to see theater and live entertainment beginning to recover, the impact of such a difficult time has been significant.” Yesterday’s news emerged just days after the composer’s music empire – the Really Useful Group – revealed a £10million drop in royalties.”
Lord Lloyd Webber was one of the most vocal entertainment chiefs announcing the pandemic’s threat to the industry. It warned last summer that it could be forced to sell some of its theaters unless the government provides aid to cover losses. Her West End musical Cinderella had just been canceled because under Covid rules the entire cast had to self-isolate despite only one person having the virus.
Echoing the Daily Express’ Raise the Curtain campaign to save beleaguered arts venues, he said: ‘You have to realize there’s not a lot more petrol in the tank frankly.’ LW’s financial results show the loss fell from just £7.3m the previous year, while group turnover fell from £83m to just under £7m. pound sterling.
Its theaters were closed for 273 weeks, down from 90 the previous year. During this time, the number of employees employed was reduced from 418 to 218.
But the company said: “The UK public has been supportive of our cinemas and the conversation has generally been encouraging. Revenue will increase significantly in the 12 months from the date of these financial statements as we emerge from a period of almost total closure.”
Last week, Lord Lloyd Webber unveiled plans to build a 120-seat arts center – named the Garden Shed – next to his headquarters in the West End.
To be used for live performances and rehearsals, it would take up two floors of the nearby Theater Royal Drury Lane building.