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Performing arts 2006

Catalogue no. 87F0003XIE

December 8, 20088 December 2008

Government expenditures on culture / Museums and art galleries / Performing arts organizations

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Statistics Canada’s 2006 performing arts survey provides detailed statistics about non-profit and for-profit theatre, musical theatre, dinner theatre, opera, dance, musical groups (e.g., orchestras, chamber music and popular music groups) and others (e.g., circus, magic shows, ice skating shows).

Total revenues were $1.2 billion for all performing arts groups in 2006, a 0.6% decrease from 2005 (not adjusted for inflation). Statistics Canada’s Daily article notes that “the 20 top performing arts companies accounted for nearly two-thirds of all revenue.”

Overall, non-profit performing arts organizations in Canada had total revenues of $617 million, representing 51% of the $1.2 billion sectoral total and a 5.6% increase from 2005. Earned revenues account for 51% of the $617 million in total revenues, followed by public sector (26%) and private sector revenues (23%).

Total expenses ($609 million) were lower than total revenues, leaving a collective surplus of $7.6 million in 2006 (1.2% of total revenues).

The $617 million in total revenues breaks down by discipline as follows:

  • Non-profit theatre companies had total revenues of $295 million in 2006, a 4.9% increase from 2005.
  • Non-profit music organizations reported total revenues of $153 million, a 9.7% increase from 2005.
  • Non-profit opera and music theatre companies accounted for $76 million in revenues in 2006, a 9.4% increase from 2005.
  • Non-profit dance companies had total revenues of $81 million in 2006, a 0.6% increase from 2005.
  • There are few non-profit performing arts companies in the “other” category (revenues of only $12 million in 2006).

Non-profit theatre, music and opera companies reported essentially balanced budgets in 2006, with theatre companies reporting a $1.7 million surplus (0.6% of revenues), music organizations registering a surplus of $1.4 million (0.9% of revenues), and opera companies reporting a $0.5 million surplus (0.7% of revenues). Non-profit dance companies registered a substantial surplus ($4.3 million, or 5.3% of revenues). “Other” performing arts companies reported a $0.2 million deficit, or 2.0% of revenues.

On a provincial basis, Ontario-based non-profit organizations accounted for $254 million in revenues (41% of the Canadian total). The revenues of Quebec-based organizations totalled $162 million in 2006 (26% of the Canadian total). Alberta-based non-profit performing arts organizations had total revenues of $75 million (12% of national revenues), while their British Columbia counterparts accounted for $74 million (12%).

In 2006, the non-profit performing arts companies drew 12.9 million spectators in Canada and abroad to nearly 38,000 performances. A breakdown by non-profit discipline shows that:

  • theatre accounted for 7.3 million in attendance and 26,000 performances;
  • music organizations reached 2.8 million people at nearly 5,000 performances;
  • dance organizations accounted for 1.4 million in attendance and 2,800 performances;
  • opera, musical theatre and dinner theatre organizations reached 1.0 million people at 2,100 performances; and
  • other performing arts companies accounted for 380,000 in attendance at 2,000 performances.

The total revenues of for-profit performing arts organizations were $591 million in 2006, 49% of the sectoral total and a 6.4% decrease from 2005. Before-tax profits amounted to $61 million, a profit margin of 10.3%. Quebec’s for-profit performing arts sector is quite large, possibly due to the presence of for-profit circus groups based in the province. The province’s for-profit performing arts groups accounted for $322 million, or 55% of total revenues in the for-profit performing arts in Canada.

The summary data tables for performing arts organizations are available at

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