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RSC reports record box office for 2011-12, Doran takes reins

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The Royal Shakespeare Company has announced record results for 2011-12, which marked its 50th birthday year, Michael Boyd's last as artistic director and the first in its transformed Stratford-upon-Avon home.

At today's annual general meeting the company revealed it played to 708,022 people over the past 12 months - almost double the previous year - while box office takings rose from £8.3m to £18.1m.

The RSC was also boosted by the award-winning Matilda The Musical, which has played to almost 400,000 people, at an average of 95% capacity over its run, with a total gross of £24m (including advance sales).

Since the Royal Shakespeare and Swan Theatres reopened in November 2010, 1.3m people have visited the buildings or attended a performance. Across all locations, the RSC gave 1,082 performances of 26 productions and played to 708,022 people, selling twice as many tickets as in the previous year, but maintaining a capacity of 89%.

This year the company also launched the World Shakespeare Festival, which the RSC is producing with more than 70 partners and thousands of artists as part of London 2012 Festival. The WSF opened on 23 April 2012 and runs until November.

Another boost for the RSC comes with news that sponsorship and donations have risen from £2.3m to £5.1m - which has increased the percentage of self-generated income from 52% to 67%. Overall turnover has increased by 54% and topped £50m for the first time ever.

Today's AGM also marked the official transfer of power from Michael Boyd to new artistic director Gregory Doran, with Catherine Mallyon taking the reins from Vikki Heywood as executive director.

Boyd, who has been in post since 2003, said: "This last year has certainly scuppered the hopes I might have had of having a gentle wind down, but I am glad to be leaving before I really want to and at a time when the company is prolific and successful. I owe all my colleagues and all the brilliant artists who have given us their best work, a huge debt. Together they make a great team for Greg Doran and Catherine Mallyon to lead onto the next stage of the Company’s journey."

Vikki Heywood added: "We’ve had a record breaking year and the response to our new home has been incredible. Nothing has inspired me more during my time at the RSC than the breadth of age, interest and knowledge of our audiences in Stratford, the UK and around the world ... I know we have inspired a new generation to love Shakespeare.”

Artistic director designate Gregory Doran paid tribute to Boyd and Heywood, saying he would be "building on strong foundations". "Michael has generously programmed through to the end of 2013 to allow me some breathing space," he added. "I’m going to take advantage of this over the coming months, alongside rehearsing my new production of The Orphan of Zhao, which opens in Stratford in October, and I’ll be announcing my first future artistic plans early in the New Year."


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