The Arts Research Monitor, created by Hill Strategies Research in 2002, provides synopses of qualitative and quantitative research findings in the arts and culture. The Monitor should be useful to artists, arts managers, funders, policy makers, researchers and others with an interest in learning more about the arts and culture. The Arts Research Monitor is funded by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.
In a situation where “the growth in the number of artists attempting to start new [theatre] companies [exceeds] the growth in the funding available”, this report, based on a review of relevant and recent Canadian reports, attempts to identify “key practices, approaches or models that theatre artists, groups and organizations are implementing or adapting to ensure their art-making is viable and thriving”.
Based on a random telephone survey of 1,000 Canadians commissioned by the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT) from Nanos Research in March 2014, this brief report and a summary fact sheet indicate that many Canadians believe in the importance of live theatre in Canadian communities. The survey results show that 84% of Canadians believe that live theatre plays an important or somewhat important role in “making communities across Canada vibrant places to live”.
Based on various Statistics Canada sources, this brief fact sheet examines the number of theatre companies in Canada, their revenues and expenditures, theatre’s contribution to the economy, public spending on tickets, as well as the number and earnings of theatre artists and students.
According to Statistics Canada's biennial performing arts survey, operating revenues were $1.48 billion for all performing arts groups in 2012, a 3.1% decrease from 2010. (The changes reported in this article have not been adjusted for inflation.) In 2012, not-for-profit performing arts organizations in Canada had collective operating revenues of $783 million, representing 53% of the $1.48 billion sector total and a 4.5% increase from 2010. Earned revenues accounted for 49% of operating revenues, followed by public sector grants (26%), private sector contributions (24%) and other revenues (2%). Collectively, operating expenses ($794 million) were $11 million higher than operating revenues, leaving a deficit of 4.5% of total revenues. Salaries, wages, and benefits (excluding fees paid to contract workers) accounted for 35% of not-for-profit performing arts organizations' expenses. In 2012, total attendance was 13 million at 48,500 performances, for an average of 267 attendees per performance.
This presentation examines Canadian statistics related to “Baumol’s cost disease”, which states that expenses might rise prohibitively over time in labour intensive sectors, such as the arts, “where productivity gains are limited”. An American researcher recently examined the “perilous life of symphony orchestras” in the U.S., where expenses have indeed risen faster than revenues. The presentation concludes that “Canadian orchestras keep a better balance between revenues and expenses” and are also “more responsive to economic conditions” than American orchestras.