Page last updated at 09:22 GMT, Wednesday, 23 September 2009 10:22 UK

National enjoys bumper audiences

Dame Helen Mirren in Phedre
Phedre, starring Dame Helen Mirren, was a success on stage and screen

The National Theatre in London has recorded its highest attendance for seven years with 817,000 visitors, according to its annual report.

Buoyed by popular productions including War Horse, the South Bank theatre's box office achieved 93% capacity during the year from April 2008.

Sunday matinees have become a permanent feature at the NT, while performances live on cinema screens are to continue.

Shakespeare's All's Well That Ends Well will be screened on 1 October.

A matinee performance of Sir Terry Pratchett's Nation will go out in cinemas in the UK and around the world on 30 January.

The first stage production to be relayed into cinemas was Phedre in June, which was seen by close to 50,000 people in 19 countries.

The year saw 17 new productions staged at the National, while War Horse made more than £2m at the box office.

The Sunday matinee season attracted some 34% of first-time bookers.

The theatre also said that profits of £465,000 would be invested in plans to modernise its building on London's South Bank.

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