Birmingham's Hippodrome has had its wishes granted after its pantomime generated bumper sales of £2.3 million.

The theatre, which for six weeks in December and January played host to Aladdin, starring Doctor Who and Torchwood actor John Barrowman, said ticket sales alone represented a fifth of the organisation's annual turnover.

This rose to a quarter of annual revenue, when programme sales, food, drink and merchandising was included. Approximately 20,000 tons of ice cream was consumed during the performances.

Rob Macpherson, director of marketing and development at the Hippodrome, said: "The Hippodrome is run as a charity and does not receive revenue grants from The Arts Council in the same way as the Birmingham Rep or the CBSO.

"That means our commercial projects are extremely important to us and help secure our programme of events."

According to Mr Macpherson. 115,000 tickets for the show - which also feature 3D animation and a special guest appearance from the Daleks - were sold for 69 performances. This makes the Hippodrome's Aladdin the biggest panto in the UK, he said.

Mr Macpherson added: "What was particularly interesting about this year's show was that 55 per cent of the audience was from the Birmingham area and another 35 per cent from the West Midlands region.

"This means that the panto attracts a huge number of people and, during the performances, becomes one of the strongest pulling attractions in the city centre. It has a great knock-on effect for local businesses too, with people spending money on everything from restaurants, car parking to baby-sitting."

The number of visitors from South Wales, Scotland and the South East was also on the up, Mr Macpherson said.

The Birmingham Hippodrome pantomime is produced by Qdos Group and is the largest show of its kind that the group produces in the UK.

Mr Macpherson said the Hippodrome had been delighted to sign John Barrowman to star in the show and had really benefited from his rapid rise to stardom on shows such as Torchwood and Any Dream Will Do.

"I think Qdos were really clever with John," he said. "They spotted a rising star a year ago and pushed him into their biggest show. There is no doubt that John was a big draw for many in the audience."

The Hippodrome was opened in 1899 and has been producing pantomimes since 1957.

In 2001, the theatre, which is also home to the Birmingham Royal Ballet, reopened after a £30 million facelift , which included a new 206-seat studio theatre, new bars, dressing rooms and a centre of the prevention and treatment of dance injuries.

The renovation paved the way for an increased focus on bringing dance events to the city.

Mr Macpherson said: "Prior to the new facilities and studios, we did not have a focus on international dance. Now we are the the region's dance hub, and up there with the Lowry, Sadler's Wells and The Barbican.

The Hippodrome also receives a three-year development grant of £30,000 from the Arts Council in order to help it reach new audiences.

"Our commercial work is just one side of it," Mr Macpherson said. "Shows such as Aladdin and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, help us to fund our more experimental works and education workshops."

The Hippodrome now plans to repeat its pantomime success with a production of Robin Hood this Christmas.

Mr Macpherson said: "The cast is not yet signed, but we have already sold over 19,000 tickets.

"It goes to show that there are many people who see the Birmingham pantomime as a crucial part of their Christmas and are happy to book a long time in advance."