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Performing Arts 2008

February 9, 20119 February 2011

Performing arts finances, attendance and participation

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Statistics Canada’s annual performing arts survey provides information 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 other organizations (e.g., circus, ice skating shows). Statistics Canada provided brief text highlights and preliminary data of the situation of performing arts organizations in 2008. Hill Strategies has analyzed this data, with a particular focus on non-profit organizations, for this issue of the Arts Research Monitor.

In even-numbered years, the data is quite detailed, including, for example, attendance data and breakdowns of revenue sources (earned, public or private sector). In odd-numbered years, only summary data is provided. The detailed data for 2008 is analyzed here.

Operating revenues were $1.38 billion for all performing arts groups in 2008, a 3.2% increase from 2007. (All change statistics have been adjusted for inflation by Hill Strategies Research.)

In 2008, non-profit performing arts organizations in Canada had operating revenues of $668 million, representing 48% of the $1.38 billion sector total and a 1.4% increase from 2007.

Operating expenses equalled operating revenues ($668 million), leaving no collective surplus or deficit in 2008. Salaries, wages and benefits (excluding fees paid to contract workers) accounted for 35% of non-profit performing arts organizations’ expenses.

Total attendance was 13.7 million at nearly 43,000 performances, for an average of 318 attendees per performance.

Earned revenues accounted for one-half of operating revenues (49%), while public sector grants and private sector contributions each accounted for about one-quarter of total revenues (25% and 24%, respectively). Other revenues represented 3% of the total.

The detailed data on revenue sources (based on a survey representing most, but not all, non-profit organizations) shows that:

  • Single-ticket sales accounted for almost twice as much revenue as subscription tickets ($142 million vs. $75 million).
  • Single-ticket sales ($142 million) were only 12% less than all public sector grants ($161 million) and 7% less than all private sector revenues ($153 million).
  • Provincial grants ($74 million) accounted for nearly one-half (46%) of all public sector grants ($161 million), greater than federal ($59 million, or 37%) and municipal grants ($29 million, or 18%).
  • Of the $153 million in private sector revenues, individual donations accounted for the largest share ($50 million, or 33%), followed by corporate sponsorships ($36 million, or 24%), fundraising events ($29 million, or 19%), foundations ($20 million, or 13%), corporate donations ($10 million, or 6%), and other private revenues ($8 million, or 5%).

For each discipline, the key statistics on non-profit organizations in 2008 are as follows:

  • Theatre: Operating revenues were $325 million, a 4.0% increase from 2007. Collectively, theatre companies reported a $1.8 million deficit (0.6% of revenues). Total theatre attendance was over 7.5 million at 30,000 performances, for an average of 251 attendees per performance.
  • Music organizations: Operating revenues were $159 million, a 1.9% decrease from 2007. Collectively, music organizations registered a surplus of $461,000 (0.3% of revenues). Music organizations reached 2.9 million people at 4,900 performances, for an average of 599 people per performance.
  • Opera, musical theatre and dinner theatre organizations: Operating revenues were $88 million, a 2.9% increase from 2007. Opera, musical theatre and dinner theatre companies reported a $283,000 deficit (0.3% of revenues). Opera, musical theatre and dinner theatre organizations reached 1.0 million people at over 2,300 performances, for an average attendance of 432.
  • Dance companies: The financial statistics for non-profit dance organizations were suppressed to protect confidentiality. Total dance attendance was 1.3 million at 2,400 performances, for an average of 541 attendees per performance.
  • “Other” performing organizations: The financial statistics for other non-profit organizations were suppressed to protect confidentiality. Total attendance at other performing arts organizations was 932,000 at nearly 3,500 performances, for an average of 269 attendees per performance.

On a provincial basis, Ontario-based non-profit organizations accounted for $282 million in revenues (42% of the Canadian total). The revenues of Quebec-based organizations totalled $165 million in 2008 (25% of the Canadian total). Alberta-based non-profit performing arts organizations had operating revenues of $83 million (12% of national revenues), while their British Columbia counterparts accounted for $80 million (also 12%). The Statistics Canada tables also contain information about the revenues of organizations in other provinces, as well as expense, surplus, attendance and other data for organizations in all provinces.

The operating revenues of for-profit performing arts organizations were $714 million in 2008, 52% of the sector total and a 5.0% increase from 2007. Before-tax profits amounted to $94 million, for a profit margin of 13.2%. 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 45% of the operating revenues all for-profit performing arts organizations in Canada.

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