The people of Norfolk have been praised for their loyalty after the Norwich Theatre Royal recorded increased ticket sales and profits.

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At its annual meeting, it was heard today how the Norwich theatre had enjoyed a bumper 12 months to April 2012 with ticket sales increasing to almost 392,000 - a rise of about 12,000 year-on-year.

As well as being the second highest sales level in the venue’s history, the figure is also nearly 175,000 more than the national average for theatres of its size.

The ticket sales contributed to an operational profit of £415,000. This will be topped up by a VAT rebate of £218,000, totalling £633,000.

Theatre bosses said the extra income will be reinvested back in the theatre and will be used to improve the venue’s educational programmes in the county.

Peter Wilson, Norwich Theatre Royal chief executive, said: “These figures are extraordinary, truly extraordinary and are a huge tribute to everyone who works at the Theatre Royal.

“We benefit from the same kind of loyalty as the football club. People in Norfolk feel a great sense of loyalty towards the county’s big institutions, including us. We will spend the operational surplus wisely on improving our educational offer in Norfolk.”

During today’s annual meeting, which was attended by Olympic silver medallist Anthony Ogogo and Norwich City legend Darren Eadie, plans to expand the theatre’s education work were laid out.

The Theatre Street theatre plans to continue and expand its programme of work in schools to help equip pupils with a host of skills, look at ways of offering educational opportunities for post-secondary students and those seeking vocational training and to find more space and resources for the theatre’s education department. Mr Wilson also confirmed that plans for a training centre for backstage theatre skills were still in the pipeline.

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