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In our Audiences

In our Audiences

We believe that theatre is for everyone, and so we aim to share our work as widely as possible, attract diverse audiences, and to keep a significant portion of our tickets at an accessible price.

As part of our 2018-2022 business plan, we’ve set several aims to help us to continue to widen our audience on the South Bank, as part of a wider audience development plan to help us reach new audiences right across the UK through touring, participation activity and broadcast.

  • A minimum of 20% of bookers to be under 35 each year
  • To increase BAME audiences attending work in our theatres to 10% by April 2023.
  • To maintain the proportion of first time bookers at 30% or above

In 2018-19, on the South Bank:

  • 19% of bookers were under 35.
  • 9% of our audience identified as from a BAME background.
  • 31% of bookers bought tickets for the first time.

17,300 people saw productions at the NT with support from our Access team.  We also launched our smart caption glasses, which provide a transcript of the dialogue and descriptions of the sound in a performance displayed on the lenses. The glasses are available on 100% of productions and at 80% of performances. Over 1,000 people have used the glasses so far, and they won the AbilityNet Tech4Good Award for Inclusive Design.

Beyond London, we have been working closely with seven theatres across the country on our Theatre Nation Partnerships (TNP) project, which aims to develop new audiences for drama programming. Two years into the partnership, we are starting to see evidence of real change. For our touring production of Macbeth, 55% of audiences were first time bookers in the TNP areas against 35% in other venues, and 43% of attenders in TNP areas were school pupils against a 29% tour average.

Broadcast and digital allows us to share our productions with the widest possible audience, reaching venues all around the world and classrooms across the UK with the best of British theatre. In 2018-19, 64% of all UK state secondary schools have now signed up to use our free streaming service, On Demand In Schools. There were 6,632 NT Live screenings at venues across the country, from Penzance’s Odeon to Mareel in Lerwick, the Shetland Islands. 75% of the areas the government identifies as a cultural ‘cold spot’ (the lowest culturally engaged 20%) are served by at least one venue receiving NT Live.