London and many regional openings, English theatre is in a state of numerical
decline. In 1999 it carried reviews of 804 London shows, in 2000 708 and
in 2001 674.
Is this a worrying trend? Well, in one respect it obviously is. Fewer pro-
ductions mean less work for actors and reduced opportunities for writers. Or,
and this is my personal contention, it more likely means less inclination to take
a chance on the unknown, more care in choosing plays and productions, and
possibly a reduction in the number of London’s fringe theatres.