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Performing Arts, 2001

October 17, 200517 October 2005

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Statistics Canada recently released the results of its 2001 survey of 583 performing arts organizations. The summary of this data, available in the September 9th Daily release, indicates that Canadian music, opera, dance and theatre organizations “recorded a surplus of $3.6 million in 2001, a reversal from a deficit of more than $4.9 million in 1999”. Although not noted by Statistics Canada in this release, 2001 marks the first time in the seven most recent Statistics Canada surveys (dating back to 1991) that Canadian performing arts companies reported an overall surplus.

Performing arts organizations were able to increase revenues by 15% between 1999 and 2001 while holding expenditures to a 13% increase. All revenue components contributed to the improved financial picture, with double-digit increases in private sector revenues (18%), government grants (16%) and earned revenues (13%) between 1999 and 2001. Attendance rose by 7% during this period, reaching 14.2 million in 2001.

The fairly positive results from the 2001 survey temper the dark portrait of performing arts survey data from the 1990s that was provided by Statistics Canada in October 2002 (reviewed in the October 2002 Arts Research Monitor). However, the 2001 survey results pre-date the decrease in tourism experienced as a result of the September 11th attacks, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and West Nile Virus.

Data in the report also shows that Canadian performing arts organizations have come to rely less upon government funding and more upon earned and private sector revenues. In 1993, earned revenues accounted for 46% of total revenues, with 37% of revenues coming from government sources and 17% from private sector sources. In 2001, 49% of total revenues came from earned revenues, 30% from government sources and 21% from private sector sources.

The summary report also provides a breakdown of select data by discipline. This data shows that theatre organizations reported a surplus of $8.2 million in 2001, while opera and dance organizations essentially broke even. Music organizations showed a deficit of $4.3 million in 2001.

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