EIF reports increased box office

The Edinburgh International Festival has announced record income for this year’s event, which has closed in Edinburgh with box office income of £2.83 million, a rise of 9% on 2011.

Organisers say that the addition of a new venue at Ingliston and NVA’s Speed of Light performance on Arthur’s Seat both contributed towards an increase of 11% in the number of tickets issued to 136,400. However, this is still 3% fewer than in 2010, when 140,680 tickets were issued.

Announcing the figures, EIF director Jonathan Mills said: “In hard times as well as good the EIF remains one of the world’s most important examples of the power of culture to transform lives. In sharing this year’s festival with audiences this has felt both real and important and I thank everyone who shared in these wonderful moments.”

Mills, who will be in post until 2014, pointed up the number of partnerships in the Olympics year. These included with London 2012 and the World Shakespeare Festival. EIF 2102 included contributions from more than 3,000 artists representing at least 47 different nations.

The festival also increased ticket sales to diverse and young audiences. The 11% increase in take-up of discounts for people with disabilities was in line with overall increases. Take-up of £8 on-the-day tickets for under 26 year-olds increased by 73%, and ticket sales to under 18s rose by slightly more than 30%.

The festival ended on a controversial note, with protesters against the Batsheva dance company disrupting all three of its performances at the Edinburgh Playhouse. The production, Hora, had to be stopped several times on each night, while protesters chanting slogans were ejected from the auditorium.

An open letter from prominent Scottish artists, including Scotland’s Makar Liz Lochhead, had called for the Tel Aviv-based company’s performances to be cancelled because it is part-funded by the Israeli government.

EIF 2013 will run from August 9 to September 1, 2013.

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The Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond, London. Photo: Noel Foster