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National Theatre ticket sales hit seven-year high under Rufus Norris

The National Theatre, London. Photo: Milan Gonda/Shutterstock The National Theatre, London. Photo: Milan Gonda/Shutterstock
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Rufus Norris’ first year as director of the National Theatre has seen ticket sales at the South Bank venue hit a seven-year high, with the organisation playing to an average capacity of 88%.

The NT’s annual review for 2015/16 charts the first full year of Norris’ tenure running the theatre, alongside Lisa Burger as executive director.

It revealed that the average capacity of the NT’s four South Bank spaces was 88%, 2% lower than the previous year. Despite this, the NT sold 787,000 tickets, the highest in seven years.

The theatre created 27 new productions for its London home, two more than in 2014/15.

The 2015/16 annual review also states that the number of bookers under the age of 35 has increased by 75%, and that the average age of all bookers had dropped to 51, closer to the national average of 47 and down from 55 last year.

The NT’s total income for the year was £118.5 million, slightly up on the previous year’s figure of £117.7 million. Box office accounted for 60% of income across the NT, the West End and touring, both in the UK and internationally.

Earlier this year the NT committed to ensuring gender equality in the directors and living writers it employs by 2021.

In 2015/16, 47% of new work at the NT was by female writers, with 43% of its directors being female.

The equality measures were announced in February as part of a drive to increase diversity across the NT’s South Bank home, with the aim of ensuring that 20% of work is written or adapted by people of colour by 2021, and 20% of directors are people of colour by the same date.

The review revealed that in 2015/16, these figures were 12% and 10% respectively. Its target for 25% of performers to be people of colour was exceeded, at 31%.

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