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War Horse and One Man lead success for NT

Published October 1, 2012

The National Theatre has released its 2011/2012 annual report boasting a 92% attendance rate at its Southbank home and 99% attendances for its long-running West End hit transfer War Horse.

Announced today by the venue’s Artistic Director Nicholas Hytner, the impressive statistics were a result of a hugely successful year for the theatre that saw 1,746 performances of 27 productions watched by a total of 2.3 million audience members.

In total the theatre’s income was £80 million, double the amount made in the same period a decade ago. The report also concluded that 33% of audiences were first time bookers and celebrated the success of the Travelex season with 87,000 tickets sold as the £12 ticket scheme moves into its 10th year of sponsorship.

As well as the many acclaimed new productions that played at the venue’s Southbank home during the 2011/2012 financial year, including Hamlet, Emperor And Galilean, The Cherry Orchard and Collaborators, the statistics also take into account the venue’s transfers, which this year included the hugely popular comedy One Man, Two Guvnors. Following its premiere at the Lyttelton theatre, the show transferred to the West End and subsequently played to more than 322,500 people between May 2011 and March 2012. The show, which recently announced its booking extension to 31 August 2013 at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, has since gone on to tour the UK in five cities and was nominated for seven Tony Awards for its Broadway run.

Now in its third year in the West End, War Horse also continues to attract audiences, with a total of 422,000 people watching the show in 2011/2012. The show also celebrated success across the Atlantic this year, transferring to Broadway in April 2011, where it won five Tony Awards, and Toronto in February 2012.

The annual report also celebrated the continued success of NT Live, the scheme which sees live performances screened into cinemas and venues around the world. The ever-increasing programme reached 500 venues in 2011/2012 in 22 countries, including 160 venues in the UK. The year also saw the most popular screening yet with a performance of One Man, Two Guvnors watched by 54,000 worldwide.

Currently planning a £70 million project to modernise and enhance the Southbank venue, the report updated audiences on its progress. As planned the Cottesloe theatre will close for refurbishment in February 2013, with a temporary venue planned in the NT’s Theatre Square, before reopening following its refurbishment as the Dorfman. The NT announced it has secured £59 million of its total budget, with £11 million yet to be funded.

Following nine years at the helm of the venue, Hytner described himself as being “as apprehensive as I have ever been about the future and as excited as I have ever been by what I see around me,” addressing the threat of funding cuts to venues across the country. With the annual report today predicting that 38% of tickets bought by playgoers in London in 2012 will be for National Theatre productions, it seems the future is looking bright for this London institution.