Page last updated at 08:39 GMT, Sunday, 31 August 2008 09:39 UK

Festival reveals record takings

Dorian Gray
Richard Winsor played Dorian Gray at the Kings Theatre

The Edinburgh International Festival has posted its highest-ever box office takings, organisers have confirmed.

They said the popularity of dance events contributed greatly to a rise of 7% on 2007 ticket sales - up to more than 2.6m.

Organisers said one in three shows sold out and that Matthew Bourne's Dorian Gray was the best-selling dance show in the festival's history.

In contrast Edinburgh Fringe ticket sales were down by almost 10% on 2007.

The festival director, Jonathan Mills, hailed this year's festival as "a tremendous three weeks of performances".

He said: "So many people have drawn together to put on a fantastic festival."

'Thrilled audiences'

The organisers of the festival said world events taking shape during the festival period "lent powerful resonance" to the festival's European theme - Artists Without Borders.

"Some artists not only thrilled audiences with their festival performances, but brought with them an extra significance to their appearances as events unravelled at home," they said.

The organisers pointed in particular to the presence of the State Ballet of Georgia, who performed at the same time as a brief war in their country.

Meanwhile, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe sold more than 1.5m tickets for the third year running but that was down from 1.7m in 2007.

Shortly after the downturn was reported, the director of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Jon Morgan, announced his resignation.

Bad weather, the poor global economy, competition from the Olympics and problems at the Fringe box office were all cited as factors for the drop.

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