FOR the first time, Edinburgh’s Capital Theatres group has recorded more than half a million customers attending shows in the last year.

The Festival Theatre, King’s Theatre and The Studio enjoyed a total increase, welcoming a record figure of 503,000 customers.

The results are all the more remarkable since the group saw a funding reduction from Edinburgh Council, and the loss of Creative Scotland funds after 24 years.

Learning and participation activity included 295 events including 70 accessible performances.

It was a hardy annual which was again the top show. Some 91,396 tickets were sold for the King’s Theatre panto starring Allan Stewart and Grant Stott – a fifth of the tickets sold across all three venues, all year round.

Les Miserables, War Horse and Scottish Ballet’s Cinderella were the next best performing shows, while the sold-out signs went up on shows by comedians Sandi Toksvig and Sarah Millican.

The growth of social media and website usage saw the group attract 825,777 website visitors over the course of the year, with the launch of a new mobile- friendly website in August 2018.

The team stated: “The launch of our new website has increased mobile users to 72.4% of our total users and our online tickets sales now account for over 57.9% of all ticket sales platforms.

Chief executive Duncan Hendry said: “In what will be my last annual review before I retire I’m delighted to report that we have had an excellent year. We have provided 295 engagement events, staged 648 performances and welcomed over 503,000 customers – the first time we’ve topped the half million mark.

“May I take this opportunity to thank all my board members, colleagues, patrons and friends for the support I’ve been given over the last seven years – it’s been great fun