theatreWashington announced today results of its annual survey of Washington theatre productions and attendances. According to the study, the numbers illustrate notable increases in productions produced, performances presented, and audiences attending.
The findings suggest a thriving theatre community in the Washington area across several categories
- 84 theatres, producing organizations, and festivals – 7 more than 2010
- 805 productions, readings, and festival productions – 200 more than 2010
- 9,903 performances – 500 more than 2010
- 2,261,509 audience members – 197,393 more than 2010
There were significant increases from larger and mid-size resident theatres. Specifically, they experienced increases that ranged from 19% – 43%. Some theatres showed significant decreases in their audience numbers due to productions of primarily non-resident work. Some smaller companies showed increases in their audience numbers as they expanded their audience base in 2011.
theatreWashington has collected and compiled these numbers annually since 1985. All constituent theatres – regardless of Helen Hayes Awards eligibility – are asked to provide their individual statistics for the period January 1 – December 31, 2011 for the purposes of this aggregate illustration.
This research puts theatreWashington at the forefront of thought-leadership to help theatres better understand audience responses and build capacity.
“Despite a weaker economy and fears that the arts are losing funding, Washington theatre is resilient and even growing,” said Linda Levy Grossman, President and CEO of theatreWashington. “The most significant finding is that theatre efforts to engage audiences and attract theatre-goers are paying off.”
theatreWashington is the only organization that promotes, supports, and represents Washington area theatres, artists, and diverse audiences of all ages. Data collection, theatre and audience engagement, and advocacy for arts funding are core to its mission.
In addition to this survey, theatreWashington has initiated and facilitated a number of programs to better inform knowledge of theatre growth. theatreWashington was a sponsor of the Intrinsic Impact Study, an unprecedented research tool for theatre companies to measure their impact on audiences. The national study of American theatres featured three Washington area theatres: Arena Stage, MetroStage, and Woolly Mammoth. Noted arts researcher Alan Brown and project director Clayton Lord toured theatre markets earlier this month to share that report and the accompanying book, Counting New Beans: Intrinsic Impact and the Value of Art.