EIF posts lift in tickets issued, but drop in box office

The Wooster Group's Hamlet was among the shows at this year's EIF
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The Edinburgh International Festival has posted the highest number of tickets issued for a decade at this year's event which finished on Sunday.

The increase in tickets issued has lead to an average 80% take-up of available seats across the 220 performances and events. But it has not led to a similar upturn at the box office, where take is at its lowest since 2006.

Festival insiders told The Stage that this summer's event, the 67th, had an increased number of cheaper tickets, partly due to its successful Beckett season of shorter plays. They also pointed to the success of its pilot Young Musicians Passport scheme, where 670 young musicians saw events for free.

A total 158,500 tickets were issued this year, up 22,000 on last year and just short of the 166,000 in 2003. Box office income was £2.43 million, the lowest since Jonathan Mills took over as director in the autumn of 2006.

Speaking about this year's event, Mills said: "I would like to thank all those audiences who have joined us over these three heady weeks who have helped to create such a fantastic atmosphere in theatres and concert halls, and around the City.

"Artists have joined us from around the world, bringing fresh perspectives on ideas and technologies familiar or strange, old and new."

Having made a strong commitment to its online presence for this year's event, and doubled its social media engagement, the EIF has announced that it is to start releasing audio and video podcasts of this year's event in the autumn.

This was the first year that the festival employed a dedicated videographer, who recorded all 46 talks and conversations. These included artists appearing at the festival, such as the Wooster Group, Patti Smith, Philip Glass and Brian Eno, as well as such curators as Michael Colgan on the Beckett on film project.

The 2014 EIF will run from August  8 to 31 and will be launched on March 11, 2014.