In our current political maelstrom, everyone seems to have their own set of facts, twisted and spun to support the confirmation biases of their opinions. This can sometimes be true of our own theatre movement, where differing methodologies have us comparing apples to horses. This is what makes Theatre Facts such an invaluable asset to the field, and over the next few months, we’ll do some myth-busting and share some surprising findings here.
First up: in spite of the dire picture often painted of audience decline, 2011 actually saw a rebound in attendance. The Universe, which looks at the 1,876 not-for-profit professional theatres that either completed the TCG Fiscal Survey, or filed Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 990, shows a rise in attendance from 31 million in 2010 to 34 million in 2011—duly noted that the Universe is not the exact same set of theatres year to year but the increase is undeniably worth citing. Additionally, our Trend Theatres—those Member Theatres that have responded to the Fiscal Survey each year since 2007—reveal a rise in overall attendance of 2.5% in the past year. While those Trend Theatres do show a 4% overall decline since 2007, the bump in this past year could be a sign that the tentative economic recovery is beginning to bear fruit in attendance.
On to artistic trends: we recently unveiled the Top 11 Most-Produced Playwrights in 2012-13. While we’re pleased to see TCG-published playwrights’ like David Lindsay-Abaire, Donald Margulies and August Wilson present, it is disheartening to see only one woman (Katori Hall) represented. While these numbers only reflect the season schedules self-submitted by TCG Member Theatres by press time for the October issue of American Theatre, this inequity reminds us of the importance of diversity and inclusion, the central themes of our 2012 Fall Forum on Governance: Leading the Charge. Hall will be our keynote speaker, and we have no doubt she’ll begin this essential conversation on a powerful note, so please register today. Can’t wait until November to make a difference? Join our Gender Equality Group on Conference 2.0 by emailing Gus Schulenburg.
Finally, I want to remind you about the upcoming Theatre Professionals Teleconferences. Moderated by experienced professionals from the field, these series offer geographically separated theatre professionals the opportunity to share information and ideas and to work with peers to find solutions to common problems. Our fall 2012 series includes teleconferences for Company Managers, Development Directors and Education Directors, so please let your staff know about these opportunities to connect.