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Performing arts attendance in Quebec in 2016

(La fréquentation des arts de la scène au Québec en 2016, Optique culture #56)

October 25, 201725 October 2017

Arts attendance and participation

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This recent report from Quebec’s cultural observatory analyzes performances, paid attendance, and box office revenues related to theatre, dance, music, comedy, circus, and magic performances in 2016, based on a census of Quebec-based performing arts presenters. The 17,200 performances with an admission fee in Quebec in 2016 (a 1% increase from 2009) attracted 7.1 million paid attendees (a 5% decrease from 2009).

Box office revenues increased from $275 million in 2009 to $278 million in 2016, a 1% increase (and the first time that box office revenues exceeded 2009 levels). Box office revenues per paying spectator (an approximation of the average ticket price) increased by 4%, from $41.97 in 2009 to $43.75 in 2016. There was a decrease in complimentary tickets given away for Quebec performances, from 11.9% of attendees in 2009 to 9.9% in 2016.

Performances by singers attracted the largest attendance (2.3 million attendees, 32% of overall performing arts attendance) and box office revenues (nearly $117 million, 42% of the total). Attendance at song-based performances varies significantly from year to year and was 31% higher in 2016 than in 2009.

Variety performances (including comedy, circus, magic, music theatre, and music hall) attracted 2.1 million attendees (29% of the total) and generated box office revenues of $80 million (also 29%). Attendance at variety performances decreased by 11% between 2009 and 2016.

In 2016, attendance at theatre performances in Quebec was 1.5 million (21% of overall attendance), earning $38 million in box office revenues (14% of the total). Theatre attendance decreased by 7% between 2009 and 2016.

Music performances (excluding singers) received 951,000 attendees (13%) and $33 million in box office receipts (12%) in 2016. Music attendance decreased by 2% between 2009 and 2016.

Dance performances attracted 224,000 attendees in 2016 (3%) and nearly $10 million in box office revenues (also 3%). Attendance at dance performances decreased by 18% between 2009 and 2016.

The report highlights other interesting aspects of performing arts attendance in Quebec in 2016:

  • The 7.1 million paid admissions represented 67% of total tickets available.
  • Quebec productions accounted for 73% of total attendance and 66% of box office receipts.
  • Performances in Montreal accounted for 50% of total attendance and 57% of box office receipts.
  • Focussing on just the 50 performances with the highest attendance in 2016, comedy dominated (with 31% of attendance at these 50 performances), followed by circus and magic (17%), theatre (16%), Francophone singers (also 16%), and Anglophone singers (10%).


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