Lion King has brought £6 million into Bristol economy
MORE than £6 million has been injected into the city's economy thanks to the run of Disney's The Lion King at the Hippodrome.
Bristol was the location for the premiere of the award-winning musical's first UK tour back in August and has been a sell-out every night since.
After 88 performances in front of a total of 165,000 people, The Lion King will close at the theatre on Saturday and continue its journey around the country.
The legendary musical underlined its position as the biggest ever touring theatre production by attracting visitors from every corner of the UK, with 75 per cent of the audience travelling from outside of Bristol to see the production, including as far afield as the Orkneys, East Anglia and Northern Ireland.
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More than half of the visitors were visiting the Hippodrome for the first time, generating huge benefits to the city.
John Hallett, managing director at Destination Bristol, said: "The level of economic impact that an event the calibre of The Lion King can bring to the city of Bristol is extraordinary.
"We saw a similar effect in 2009 with the acclaimed Banksy exhibition, which brought tens of thousands of visitors to the region. While it is impossible to accurately measure this impact, after analysing attendance figures, we believe that through travel, hotel accommodation, business in local shops and restaurants, The Lion King brought well over £6 million to the local economy – as well as entertaining more than 165,000 people."
The Lion King had a similarly positive effect on the Hippodrome itself, as the theatre celebrated its centenary year.
Specifically for the season and for the first time in its history, the stalls seating in the auditorium was reconfigured to have two aisles, to allow for the famous animal procession which opens the show. In addition, due to the high demand for tickets to the sell-out show, the musical was the first production in the Hippodrome's history to sell standing room tickets.
Christiaan De Villiers, general manager at Bristol Hippodrome, said: "It has been thrilling to have Disney's The Lion King at the Hippodrome during our centenary year. It has brought new audiences and new energy to the theatre, and is sure to stand as one of this historic theatre's most exciting and memorable productions."
Tony-award winning director Julie Taymor flew in from America for the official launch of the show, which tells the story of a young lion cub, Simba, who is driven to exile after the death of his father.
The musical features an international cast of 52 performers from 17 different countries who have made Bristol their home since they began rehearsals eight weeks ahead of the opening.
The touring production now moves on to Manchester for an 18-week season at The Palace Theatre. Meanwhile, the acclaimed West End production continues to play at London's Lyceum Theatre, where it is now in its 14th year.