The Playgoer: "Theatre Facts 2004": a very good year?

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Friday, July 01, 2005

"Theatre Facts 2004": a very good year?

Would you be surprised to learn that "the average theatre" today is "in a better position than it was in 2003"? Well, for documentation, try leafing through that annual tome from the Theatre Communications Guild, "Theatre Facts," now available for download from the TCG website. For those not wishing to spend their July 4th weekend poring over audience studies and budget reports, here's a summary in Backstage.
Though not for the mathematically challenged, this is quite an amazing snapshot of the 198 regional non-profits who are basically keeping serious theatre alive in this country. While the report apparently delivers some much needed good news about solvency and in-the-blackness, Backstage neatly sums up how mixed these figures can be:

At its most fundamental level, the report makes it clear that while nonprofit regional theatre's overall outlook is improving, it would still be premature to pop the champagne cork. Whereas "Theatre Facts 2003" totaled up 170,000 performances that attracted more than 34 million patrons, for example, "Theatre Facts 2004" found not only a slight slackening in total performances (down to 169,000), but a much more dramatic drop in attendance (down to 32.1 million)
So that's two million fewer people attending a non-profit theatre in '04. Not to be gloomy, but at such a rate... well, you do the math.

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