The Edinburgh Festival Fringe has posted record sales across the three-week festival with a year-on-year rise of 5.25% to an estimated 2.8 million tickets issued.
It is the sixth successive annual increase since figures dipped to 1,857,202 in 2012.
The increase is slightly above the 4.4% increase in the number of productions, which totalled 3,548 this year.
Ticket sales have been strong across the festival, but have been particularly concentrated in the big venues. Assembly, Pleasance, Gilded Balloon and Underbelly – the four largest operators – reported a 9% increase in sales to 1.7 million tickets. This represents 58% of total tickets sold at the festival.
Anthony Alderson, director of the Pleasance, described ticket sales as “astonishing” and told The Stage that he was particularly pleased with the quality of this year’s theatre offering.
He said: “The comedy has been solid, but the real triumph for me is that there has been a real rise in the quality of the theatre that we are getting. This year we seem to be getting really good quality and they are tackling world issues in such a head-on way. It is really refreshing. It feels like a proper cultural revolution and I think people are coming out in their numbers because of it.”
Small-scale venue operator TheSpace told The Stage that its 390 productions had sold a total of 160,000 tickets, an 11% overall increase on last year.
Elsewhere, the Edinburgh International Festival noted a fall in sales, taking £3.8 million compared with last year’s record-breaking £4.3 million.
EIF said this was due to a reduction in higher-priced opera and theatre performances, which were part of its expanded anniversary year in 2017. Despite this, it recorded 85% occupancy across the festival.