On 7 June, UK Theatre released 2017 sales figures for over 200 of its member venues across the country. TRG Arts – who collated the results – has since analysed the data further. A subsequent report looks at what conclusions can be drawn about the state of regional theatre in the UK. Here are the headlines of those findings:
HOW DO WE TAKE VENUE SIZE AND TYPE INTO ACCOUNT?
Because the UK’s regional theatre landscape has such diversity of venue sizes and business models – from a large commercial presenting house to a 100-seat studio space – UK Theatre members’ auditoria are categorised into eight different types:
- A: Main auditoria of larger producing theatres
- B: Principally presenting theatres with a capacity of over 1,000
- C: Concert Halls
- D: Auditoria of principally presenting theatres with a capacity between 500-1,000
- E: Main auditoria of principally producing theatres with capacity over 160
- oF: Auditoria of principally presenting theatres with a capacity between 200 and 500
- G: Smaller space, programmed frequently
- H: Smaller space, programmed infrequently
LARGE-SCALE PRESENTING HOUSES AND THEIR IMPACT ON THE OVERALL FIGURES
- One of the eight categories, largely presenting houses with a capacity of over 1,000, accounts for only around 10% of the number of performances annually, but around 60% of overall aggregate UK Theatre box office income.
- Because of the variable nature of large-scale touring, figures have fluctuated every year since we started collecting data in 2012, which has a significant impact on the aggregate sales figures for all venue types: Last year, these large venues sold 260,546 fewer tickets than in 2016, accounting for 94% of the overall fall in ticket sales reported across the eight venue types.
- The average percentage of seats filled in these big presenting houses is more constant, however, ranging from 63-67%. Houses are not significantly less full in a lean year – there are fewer performances, particularly in the biggest venues.
WHAT ABOUT OTHER VENUE TYPES?
- Larger producing theatres and Concert Halls saw a small dip in tickets sold but a modest growth in income.
- 500 to 1000-seat presenting houses and smaller producing houses had a record-breaking year for both sales and box office income.
- Smaller (200 to 500 seat) presenting houses recorded a big drop in sales and income, mainly attributable to a substantial reduction in the number of performances.
DO THE FIGURES REVEAL ANY TRENDS?
- In real terms (taking inflation into account) the overall average price paid for a ticket has only risen by 2% since 2013, and actually fell by 2% since 2016
- The venues with the biggest rises in audience numbers (producing houses of all scales and concert halls) have also recorded the steepest rises in average price paid. For example, subsidised producing theatre has seen strong growth in average price paid and audience numbers over the last five years.
- Those that have seen little or no increase in price paid (the largest and medium scale presenting houses) recorded smaller audiences in 2017 than 2013 – and changes in yield achieved at the big presenting houses have a major impact on the overall figures for all venues.
- Some parts of the sector, predominantly producing theatres, have recorded yield increases, but there is no evidence in the UK Theatre figures that this has had a negative impact on audience numbers.
To download this report in full please visit our Sales Data Reports' page here.
UK Theatre members can log-in to view our up to the minute, weekly sales data reports here.
Date Published: 16 August 2018