Crikey! Performing arts audiences stagnating
A trend does look more profound or alarming when the chart has a truncated Y-Axis (in this case at 3,000,000). But despite that the numbers do speak to a 6% decline in audience numbers over 5 years 2007-2011 for 17 large opera, music, theatre and dance companies around Australia.
Ben Eltham surveyed 17 companies for Crikey and of these “10 have seen declining audiences since 2007. Perhaps most worrying, this figure includes all six of the largest performing arts companies with audiences of more than 200,000 annually.“
“Longer-term trends may also be at work: Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows the percentage of Australians attending performing arts events such as classical music concerts, operas and the theatre has barely changed in more than a decade. The most recent Australia Council data for the sector also backs up this.“
“Whatever the reasons, the flatlining aggregate attendance data suggests that all is not well with our nation’s flagship performing arts institutions. At a time of ever-expanding options for the culturally minded consumer, our nation’s largest orchestras, operas and theatre companies face significant challenges in maintaining and renewing their audiences in the coming decade.“