Trips to restaurants, ‘big ticket’ concerts and going to a comedy show also feature in the UK’s ten most popular evenings.

Photo of two people on stage

More people would prefer to watch theatre than football, according to research by Birmingham’s Town Hall Symphony Hall (THSH).

A forthcoming report finds 26% of British adults identify theatre or opera as a great evening activity, compared with 17% who said the same for sports.

Overall, 45% of British adults enjoy going to see live performance across all genres, rising to 63% among the under 25s.

“Half the adult population equate quality leisure time with getting out of the house,” said Nick Reed, CEO at THSH. “Across theatre, comedy and music there is a resurgent passion for live performance entertainment.”

“The hunger for live entertainment is growing fast with young people and with women, diversifying the audience for live performance today,” he added.

Big ticket concerts

The findings have emerged from a YouGov survey of over 2,000 adults, weighted to be representative of all British adults. It asked respondents which of a range of options “represents a ‘great night’ for you personally”.

One in five said a ‘big ticket’ concert – held in large venues, or with famous names – was a good night out, and a further 12% indicated their interest in going to grassroots gigs.

Big concerts were more popular with women (22%) than men (18%), and among young people: 40% of the under 25s said they made for a great night out.

Most popular plans

The most popular plans are now having dinner at a restaurant, staying in and watching a film or getting a take-away, and going to a bar or a pub with friends.

The top ten activities were found to be:

  1. Having dinner at a restaurant (51%)
  2. Staying in (50%)
  3. Going out drinking with friends (39%)
  4. Going to the cinema (27%)
  5. Going to the theatre/opera (26%)
  6. A ‘big ticket’ concert (20%)
  7. Going to a house party (19%)
  8. Hosting a dinner party at home (18%)
  9. Watching a sports match (17%)
  10. Going to a comedy club/show (16%)

Reed said: “The preliminary findings from our new nationwide research dash notions that the UK is a nation of couch potatoes, enjoying TV dinners in front of endless reality TV shows.”

The report is scheduled to be published in January.