Melbourne Festival has announced that the final box office takings of $2,700,281 for 2010’s Festival have exceeded the previous record of $2,605,916, which was set in 2009.

Melbourne Festival General Manager Vivia Hickman said “We are thrilled to have topped 2009’s box office income, which was then the highest in the Festival’s 24 year history. This year’s achievement is very significant in view of the stronger impact of the GFC on consumer spending this year than last year (Commonwealth Bank Business Sales Indicator), and the fact that we continued to offer some of the lowest ticket prices across the State - $15 for school students, $20 for the international contemporary music program at Beck’s Festival Bar, $25 for tertiary students, and $35 for the Carnival of Mysteries.”

In his second year as Artistic Director, Brett Sheehy presented an impressive program characterised by Australian exclusives with 13 world and 14 Australian premiere works, and projects that varied widely in scale and content. Of the 909 artists that presented their work in the 2010 festival, 658 were Australian and 250 from overseas, with many of the international artists realising their Australian debuts.

Brett Sheehy said “We are delighted to have broken the Festival’s box office record for the second year running. I have always said that while great box office and surplus figures are terrific, it is what they say about the people of Melbourne which is most significant, and this year it means that Melburnians have again embraced the Festival in droves, taking ownership of the State’s premier cultural event. That more people are now enjoying and participating in their Festival than at any other time in our history is thrilling, and we will work to ensure it continues into the future by consistently embracing multiple artforms, and by our determination that every Melburnian does indeed have a right to expect their Festival is, at least in part, for them.”

Brett Sheehy will launch his 2011 and third Melbourne Festival program in July.

The 2011 Melbourne Festival will be held between 6-22 October.

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