The Theatre Communications Group has published Theatre Facts 2008, an online report analyzing how theater in America has been affected by the economic downturn. Bottom line: "the not-for-profit theater field, although also shaken by the state of the union, increased its contribution to the economy to $1.9 billion and offered 202,000 performances that attracted 32 million attendees." However, notes TCG executive director Teresa Eyring, "We're aware that our survey for fiscal years ending in 2009 may look bleaker."
Theatre Facts, which has been published annually by TCG for over 30 years, draws on responses to the annual TCG Fiscal Survey to offer an analysis of the attendance, performance, and fiscal health of not-for-profit theater in the U.S. This year's survey compiles information gathered between October 31, 2007, and September 30, 2008. The report examines unrestricted income and expenses, balance sheet, attendance, pricing, and performance details.
Not-for-profit theaters’ contribution to the U.S. economy increased to $1.9 billion through payments for goods, services, and employee salaries and benefits.
Theaters offered 202,000 performances that attracted over 32 million attendees.
The majority of theaters’ employees are engaged in artistic positions, with an average workplace consisting of 63 percent artistic, 26 percent technical, and 11 percent administrative personnel.
Fifty-one percent of theaters' total income came from earned sources, while 49 percent came from contributions.
Fifty-five percent of theaters surveyed ended 2008 in the red. Last year was the only year in the last five in which the change in unrestricted net assets was negative—the result in part of a shift from capital gains in 2004-2007 to capital losses in 2008 and a 19 percent growth in total expenses.
Average subscription income rose 2.6 percent over the five-year span. However, 8 percent fewer subscription tickets were purchased and the number of subscribers fell by 10 percent.
Average expenses experienced double-digit growth in excess of inflation from 2004 to 2008 in all categories except artistic payroll and royalties.