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Monday, July 6, 2009


National Arts Festival announces pleasing initial results after the first weekend.

Ticket sales at the National Arts Festival have been strong so far this year, with one record being broken.

The Festival announced today that, after the first weekend, the 2009 event had increased its’ ticket sales by 7.7% over the previous years’ figure on the same date. “At the same stage last year we had sold a total of 84,897 tickets. The comparative figure for this year is 91,487,” Festival CEO Tony Lankester said.

Both the Fringe and the Main experienced a growth in ticket sales, with the Main programme increasing by 11.7% and the Fringe by 5.4%.

“It is too early to tell what the final projection will be for the Festival, with six days of productions still to come,” adds Lankester. “The overall picture can still fluctuate wildly over the next week, so it is too early to celebrate or to make predictions about where we are likely to end. We are happy, though, that we have had a solid start to the event and that theatregoers seem to be remaining loyal to us despite tough economic times.”

The Festival has experienced a steady growth in ticket sales over the last few years, with each successive year showing growth.

Organisers also announced that a box office record was set over the weekend when R413,000 worth of tickets were sold on Saturday, making it the single biggest selling day in Festival history. “It’s the first time we’ve ever broken the R400,000 barrier in a single day,” Lankester said. “We thought we would come close on Friday, when we sold R390,000 worth, but it took an increased number of visitors on Saturday to push us over the top.” The biggest total in a single day in 2008 was R355,000.

The National Arts Festival is sponsored by Standard Bank, The Eastern Cape Government, The National Arts Council, The National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, The Sunday Independent and MNet.