SOLT & UK Theatre’s new report reveals higher rate of TTR builds a vibrant and dynamic theatre sector

The Society of London Theatre (SOLT) & UK Theatre today publish the results of a comprehensive survey demonstrating the extent of the success of the higher rate of Theatre Tax Relief (TTR).   

The higher rate, introduced in 2021, turbo-charged the sectors bounce back from the pandemic. It is fundamental to enabling UK theatre to be world-leading, growing and innovative, at a time when costs are outstripping revenue growth.  

The higher rate has resulted in the UK theatre sector delivering more and bigger productions, bolder programming, building more robust talent pipelines and reaching more audiences. This has created a more vibrant and dynamic theatre sector that drives economic growth while delivering transformative social good.   

Key findings from the survey include:   

  • More and bigger productions: 83% of respondents say current TTR rates enable greater scale of productions and 65% are producing more shows than would be possible at a lower TTR rate.  
  • More employment and economic growth: 83% of respondents are able to employ more people thanks to the current TTR rate with almost 15,000 jobs created in the sector as a result of the higher rate.  69% cite increased business for suppliers possible because of the higher TTR rate. Our members also tell us that the higher rate enables domestic and international investment.    
  • A more vibrant and dynamic theatre sector via bolder programming and talent pipelines: a respondent said, ‘The higher rates gave us the confidence to continue being bold and also invest in commissioning new writing to ensure there are more new plays in the canon of work.’  
  • Improved reach to audiences: a respondent said, ‘Touring children’s theatre would be less able to go to many of the levelling up regions where guarantees tend to be lower.’  

The higher rate of TTR has helped create groundbreaking productions across the UK, showcasing the transformative power of investment in the arts. Without the higher rate of TTR, productions like ‘Charlie & The Chocolate Factory’, ‘Guys and Dolls’ and Mark Gatiss’ ‘A Christmas Carol’ – to name just a few – would not have reached the stage.   

The higher rate of TTR enabled investment in research and development resulting in Donmar Warehouse’s innovative use of cutting-edge sound technology in their production of ‘Macbeth’, starring David Tennant and Cush Jumbo.   

However, the survey shows that the sector is already taking action in anticipation of the higher rate being lost, with a reduction of almost a third in total number of productions and playing weeks planned for 2026.  

Therefore, SOLT & UK Theatre are calling on the Chancellor to make the higher rate of TTR permanent in his Spring Budget, to ensure the continued success and growth of the UK theatre sector.  

Claire Walker Co-Chief Executive of SOLT & UK Theatre, emphasised the role of the higher rate of TTR:  

“The higher rate of TTR is a highly effective economic stimulus, enabling the sector to take risks and be bold. Our research shows that losing the higher rate will lead to fewer and smaller productions, which in turn means fewer jobs and a smaller contribution to local and national economies. That’s why we urge the Government to retain the higher rate, which is fundamental to the success and growth of our world class theatre sector, and which will enable our members to continue to deliver enormous benefits throughout the UK.”  

Eleanor Lloyd, President of Society of London Theatre, commented:  

“The higher rate of tax relief directly enables the creation of groundbreaking productions, the hiring of more talent, and brings exhilarating live shows to audiences. It is a fundamental enabler of the UK’s world-leading theatre, which simultaneously grows the economy and delivers transformative social good to communities across the country.”