Fringe reports strong early box office

Edinburgh Fringe venues are reporting early ticket sales up between 3% and 5%, like for like, as the event officially opens for business on Friday August 3.

With an increase in the number of productions and the potential distraction of the London Olympics, there had been concerns that ticket sales would be adversely affected.

Anthony Alderson, director of the Pleasance, told The Stage: “We are delighted to say that we opened slightly up, just 3%, on last year’s figure.

“It is day sales which really count now. Having gone on sale earlier made that much, much stronger and we have built up a really nice advance across the board with a smattering of audience across a lot of things.”

At the Assembly venues, early audiences are also reported to be good with queues at their new Assembly Roxy and crowds in the George Square gardens. There is strong walk-up in all venues and it appears that the feared confusion between Assembly and the Assembly Rooms, now run by The Stand, has been negligible.

Tommy Sheppard who runs the Stand and Assembly Rooms Fringe, said: “Sales at the Stand comedy club are on a par with last year, which was a record breaking year for us. At the Assembly Rooms Fringe it is impossible to say with a new venue and nothing to compare with – but initial box office is robust.”

The company also report positive feedback on the new configuration of the Assembly Rooms Ballroom, which has gone from being an end-on stage to having a small thrust stage in the middle of the side wall.

Smaller venues are also reporting strong advance and lively walk-up. Matt Beer, director of ZOO venues, said: “Our figures are a little bit skewed this year as we’ve cut back from three venues to two. But for the venues where we can directly compare, our advance sales are about 5% up on 2011 and we’re very optimistic.

“It feels like our programme contains a lot of emerging companies on the cusp of breakthroughs rather than established names, and the early indications are that shows are really embracing how hard the fringe is and putting suitable work in, so the early walk-up figures are encouraging too.”

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