Royal Shakespeare Company reveals record audiences

RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon The Royal Shakespeare and Swan theatres have been redeveloped as part of a £113m project

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The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) has announced record results for its 50th anniversary year.

It said 700,000 people had seen performances in 2011, more than double the previous year.

The Stratford-upon-Avon company said, despite "tough times" it had "bucked the trend", with box office takings rising from £8.3m to more than £18m.

RSC chairman Nigel Hugill said the success had been in large part thanks to West End show Matilda.

"We're very pleased, because of the fact we opened the new theatre at Stratford during the year, we had the 50th birthday of the company and we opened Matilda in London, and one of the big contributors is Matilda.

"We won a record number of awards. For me it is something born in Stratford, went to London and is now on its way to New York."

Mr Hugill said staging the World Shakespeare Festival, a key part of the Cultural Olympiad, had also boosted visitor numbers in 2012.

The RSC has also applied to keep The Courtyard Theatre, which was originally designed as a temporary venue while the Royal Shakespeare and Swan theatres were redeveloped as part of a £113m project in Stratford-upon-Avon.

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