Theatre Thoughts: Demographics

State Of Play: Theatre UK (Live Analytics/Ticketmaster)

*All quotes from the PDF document unless otherwise stated

This was a PDF document I found during my online research. It is interesting and useful for my enquiry as the report looks at theatre attendance in detail and from a variety of perspectives.

"This isn't a simple demographic study - we're looking not just at who attends the theatre, but at why they attend, where they go, and how they came to be there..." (YOVICH, 2013)

Image Source:

The report has compiled data regarding aspects of attending the theatre, and has found that the biggest barrier to attendance is the cost - this is something that I have assumed in the past, and it is nice to see it backed up by data!

Findings include:

  • * 76% of the UK population has been to at least one theatre show in the three years of the report (2010-13)
  • * 87% of 16-19 year olds have attended the theatre in the three years of the report: the highest percentage of the age ranges surveyed

Interestingly the report accounted for attendance in relation to household income and educational background: unsurprisingly the higher the household income, the greater the likelihood of theatre attendance. Those with GCSE's as the highest qualification were more likely to prefer Comedy as a genre, and those with BA or MA were most likely to prefer Drama.

Image Source:

For my enquiry, the findings that theatre was a social occasion ("...(38%) of attendees going in groups of three and a further 36% in groups of four or more...) and that the highest proportion of attendees had found out about the production through word of mouth (friends or family), is particularly interesting. If theatre is a social outing, does one member of the group make the decision, or is one member more likely to influence viewing habits than others?

Also interesting was that, despite 'one in four' attendees Tweeting about the performance before or after the event, 'one in five' writing reviews on social media, and 'two in five' believing that reviews are more likely than standard advertising in making the decision to attend a show, only 1% of those surveyed used Facebook to find out about productions, and none of those surveyed used blogs or Twitter.

The report also looked at the future of theatre, finding that, among younger theatre-goers, Immersive Theatre and alternative viewing opportunities (cinemas/live-streaming) were increasingly popular, however even those who enjoyed these types of performance were more likely to prefer traditional audience viewing and theatre experiences.

Image Source:

Usefully, the document ends with a summary of the report and the state of UK theatre, concluding that, despite barriers to access, the industry is thriving. I think it is reassuring to see that the younger age groups are the most likely to attend the theatre, as it ensures the longevity of the industry, and may encourage other forms of arts, such as ballet and opera (as these were cited as being the lowest attended art forms in the theatre genre) to expand their reach into these interested groups.

There was also a statement of the methodology and ethical procedures used during the report, which was handy for me to look at as reference for compiling my own!

This was a very interesting document and will provide a useful starting point and reference throughout my inquiry.


Yovich, Mark: 'State of Play: Theatre UK', Live Analytics/Ticketmaster, 2013


Popular Posts