London 2012 will boost theatre, says Tim Rice

Tim Rice rejects Andrew Lloyd Webber's 'pessimistic' fears and says the Olympics will be 'a major benefit to the theatre world'

Tim Rice has spoken out against his former collaborator Andrew Lloyd Webber's "pessimistic" fears that the Olympics would cause "a bloodbath of a summer" for London theatre.

Rice, who wrote the lyrics for Lloyd Webber's first three musicals, told the Evening Standard that he believed the Olympics would prove "a major benefit to the theatre world".

The Society of London Theatre – the body that represents commercial West End producers and managers – will no doubt appreciate his confidence, having this week announced a major new campaign designed to attract audiences over the course of the summer.

Entitled Don't Miss the Real Show in 2012, the new initiative seeks to "maximise opportunities arising from extra visitors" to the capital, working with partners including the Mayor's Office and Transport for London, and to combat the fear that the influx of Olympic visitors will keep people out of the West End.

Last month, Lloyd Webber told Radio 4's Today programme that his production company The Really Useful Group was facing a 10% dip in advance bookings for the duration of the games. "Nobody's going to go to the theatre at all," he continued. "Most of the theatres in London will shut."

However, Rice is adamant that he does not share such concerns: ""I don't see why [the Olympics] should be anything other than a plus. There will be a lot more tourists floating around and I simply don't see why they would only want to see the Olympics.

"They will want to do other things in London and the theatre is one of the things the city is famous for."

Announcing the new campaign SOLT president Mark Rubenstein said: "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."

Howard Panter, joint CEO of Ambassador Theatre Group, welcomed the new campaign, describing London 2012 as "a great opportunity for us to showcase the West End to the world and to welcome potential new audiences that will be visiting London during the Games".


Matt Trueman

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
West End musicals may close during London Olympics 2012
Andrew Lloyd Webber's production company considers closing shows, including The Phantom of the Opera and The Wizard of Oz, during the London Games next summer

Matt Trueman

07, Nov, 2011 @2:48 PM

Article image
Sheridan Smith to star in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Smith will play the Narrator this summer when Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s musical returns to the Palladium

Chris Wiegand

01, Mar, 2019 @2:28 PM

Article image
Tim Rice: 'Evita was a bonkers idea'
As the great songwriter prepares to take Jesus Christ Superstar on a 50th birthday tour, he talks about penning hits, his idea for a new musical – and drinking from Lloyd Webber’s Georgian wine glasses

Rob Walker

14, Jan, 2021 @6:00 AM

Article image
Lloyd Webber backs Tim Rice in row over ‘political’ change to musical
As he picks up a lifetime achievement award, Andrew Lloyd Webber reflects, in an exclusive interview, on his career and the censoring of a Dreamcoat lyric

Vanessa Thorpe

08, Jul, 2017 @11:05 PM

Article image
Seven days on stage – in pictures

Frankie Boyle attacks Scottish anti-bigotry laws, Tim Rice gets in the Olympic ring with Andrew Lloyd Webber, while Mark Rylance bows out from Jerusalem in this week's theatre roundup from the Stage's Alistair Smith

Alistair Smith

13, Jan, 2012 @5:08 PM

Article image
Jesus Christ Superstar review – a triumphant return for live theatre
This concert version of Timothy Sheader’s revelatory 2016 production made a virtue of distancing on stage – were there a roof it would have blown off

Chris Wiegand

20, Aug, 2020 @11:12 AM

Article image
Andrew Lloyd Webber at 70: how a ruthless perfectionist became Mr Musical
He took the shonky British musical and made it a global phenomenon. As the composer celebrates his birthday with a new memoir, our theatre critic looks back at the hits – and flops

Michael Billington

21, Mar, 2018 @6:00 AM

Article image
A Phantom menace: why West End shows should not fear the Olympics
Lyn Gardner: Instead of closing productions during the 2012 Olympics, Andrew Lloyd Webber and fellow producers should use their entrepreneurial flair to ensure the show does go on

Lyn Gardner

28, Nov, 2011 @12:44 PM

Article image
Evita and Cats head to West End in Andrew Lloyd Webber brace

New productions of the musicals Evita and Cats are set for London this autumn, the former featuring Marti Pellow as Che

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

27, Jun, 2014 @12:54 PM

Article image
Seven days on stage: Will Olympic tourists sprint over to the West End?
As the curtain rises on the Olympics, London's Theatreland is on tenterhooks about ticket sales, while a new musical prepares to take wing at Beijing's Bird's Nest Olympic stadium

Alistair Smith

27, Jul, 2012 @4:38 PM