Saturday, December 15, 2012

Arts Reporting: Howard Sherman Analyzes the Numbers for America's Theatres

Published at his website on December 10:

America’s Theatre, By The Numbers

by Howard Sherman - December 10, 2012
Howard Sherman at 

Many people, and I count myself among them, often find themselves trying to quantify the totality of theatre activity in the United States and, within that, to delineate differences between the various sectors: commercial, not for profit, educational, amateur and so on. While absolute figures may prove elusive, there are a handful of studies that provide a reasonably good picture of professional production, lending perspective to any discussion about the reach of theatre in America.

The Broadway League, Calculator (via professional association of theatre producers in the commercial sector, both Broadway and touring, generates multiple reports annually; its recent release of its annual demographic figures last week focused a lot of attention on Broadway and who’s attending those productions. The Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national service organization of the country’s not-for-profit theatres (NFPs), produces its annual Theatre Facts report, the most comprehensive picture of activity across a variety of NFP companies based on an comprehensive fiscal survey.

While the methodologies may vary, and the TCG report isn’t 100% inclusive and includes extrapolation, looking at the two is very informative as a means of comparing and contrasting these two sectors, which inexplicably to me seem to be always addressed discretely, rather than as parts of a whole.

Here’s the main snapshot:

2010-2011 Season


(B’way League)
# of performances

I was surprised to find that in terms of revenue, the two sectors are quite close; the NFPs edge commercial production by $36 million (for the purpose of this summary, I have merged earned and contributed income in the NFPs). Attendance between the two shows the NFPs ahead by a bit over $ million, which is almost 33%. But the real difference is in the number of productions, which demonstrate that the production pace in NFP theatre is vast compared to the commercial arena, and the total number of performances almost eight times greater. [emphasis added by]

Read more at . . . .

No comments:

Post a Comment