Page last updated at 14:33 GMT, Tuesday, 1 September 2009 15:33 UK

Fringe ticket sales break record

Kaguya Hime performers
The Kaguya Hime show was one of 2,098 at this year's Fringe

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe has broken its own box office records by selling more than 1.8 million tickets.

Ticket sales for the Fringe were up by 21% on last year and 9% on its previous best ever year, which was in 2007.

Organisers said a drop in international visitors had been offset by a marked increase in UK audiences.

The Book Festival enjoyed a 7% increase in visitor numbers while the Edinburgh Art Festival is also reporting a sharp increase in sales.

The 63rd Fringe, which ended on Monday night, was the first with new chief executive Kath Mainland at the helm.

She said: "Even in tough economic conditions, festivals chime with people in a way few other events manage to.

"Over the past three-and-a-half weeks I have seen some amazing work, sometimes perfectly trivial and enormously entertaining, sometimes incredibly challenging and often hugely moving.

"I have been blown away by the creative energy, artistic vision and drive of the people taking part, from performers and directors, to venue producers and promoters."

Ticketing problems

A total of 1,859,235 tickets were sold - 9% more than the previous record set in 2007.

The 2008 event was married by problems with a new box office ticketing system.

Organisers said the growth of poetry, the spoken word, puppetry and one-person shows were some of the most "striking facets" of the 2009 programme.

At least 18,901 performers took to the stage this year, in 34,265 performances of 2,098 shows originating in 60 countries.

Comedy made up 35% of the programme, followed by theatre with 28% and music at 16%.

Musicals and opera, dance and physical theatre, children's shows and other events and exhibitions made up the rest of the programme.

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