Centerpieces and Special Reports

Directed to theatre staff and board members, this section offers in-depth analyses, case studies and resource tools on specific management issues, as well as reports on research conducted by TCG's Management Programs department. Topics include governance, marketing, development, education and general management issues and are curated by specialists in each area. Select from the topics below to see all Centerpieces or Special Reports in that category.

Most Recent Centerpieces and Special Reports

November 2011: Taking Your Fiscal Pulse—Fall 2011: A Report on the Fiscal Health of the National Not-for-Profit Field

350 theatres participated in the latest snapshot survey on the field's current state of affairs, conducted in collaboration with the Association of Performing Arts Service Organizations (APASO). The report conveys actual and projected activity for theatres’ fiscal year ending anytime in 2011. Read the Theatre Facts 2010 and Taking Your Fiscal Pulse—Fall 2011 press release here.


November 2011: On Turning 50: Education Survey 2011

This year’s Education Centerpiece begins with an introduction by Daniel Renner, director of education at Denver Center Theatre Company, who reflects upon education at TCG and in the field at TCG’s 50th anniversary. Renner’s introduction leads into field reflections on education sessions at the 2011 TCG National Conference in Los Angeles. Also included in this Centerpiece are this year’s tabulations from the 2010 Education Survey results and staff notes from the Conference.


December 2010: Snapshot Survey—Fall 2010: Online Ticket Sales and Contributions

The growing importance of technology in marketing and fundraising is a frequent topic of interest in TCG meetings, teleconferences and email requests. This report is a compilation of the responses from the 125 theatres that shared information about the extent to which they are selling tickets and receiving contributions online.


October 2010: Moving Forward: Theatre Education Assessment Models Phase 2: Education Survey 2009

This year’s Education Centerpiece, with an introduction by Daniel Renner, director of education at the Denver Center Theatre Company, includes reflections, best practices and practical takeaways gleaned by several education directors who attended the TEAM Phase 2 assessment training. The Building a National TEAM: Theatre Education Assessment Models project was begun in 2007, and focused on crafting good assessment models. TEAM Phase 2 continued that professional development work by guiding education directors toward developing valid and reliable conclusions and reports from their raw assessment data. Also included in this Centerpiece are this year’s tabulations from the 2009 Education Survey results.


March 2010: The New Normal: One Year Later, A Report Based on TCG Board “Phone Tree” Conversations—Spring 2010

This is a follow-up to TCG’s February 2009 report, The New Normal, which examined the state of the field in response to the global economic crisis of 2008. The original report was based on conversations between TCG board members and TCG theatres. One year later, TCG’s board of directors again activated the “phone tree,” reaching out to 476 member theatres in January and February 2010 to see how theatres were faring. This report summarizes those conversations, based on the following four questions:
1. What short-term fixes did you undertake that will have/have had long-term impact?
2. What do you think the core challenge is in the coming three years for your own theatre and for the wider field?
3. What’s the most exciting thing you’re working on now OR what do you want to be working on but can’t?
4. Finally, a one word answer: Are you in better/worse/same shape now as at this time last year?


March 2010: Taking Your Fiscal Pulse—Spring 2010: A Report on the Fiscal Health of the National Not-for-Profit Theatre

The latest in a series of snapshot surveys aimed at capturing theatres’ most current state of affairs, Taking Your Fiscal Pulse—Spring 2010 marked TCG’s third collaboration with the Association of Performing Arts Service Organizations (APASO), the result of which was participation by 435 not-for-profit theatres. This report presents national findings from this snapshot survey, including actual and projected activity for their fiscal year ending anytime between fall 2009 and fall 2010, the state of endowments and cash flow and theatres’ current concerns and priorities. Taking Your Fiscal Pulse—Spring 2010 is being released in conjunction with The New Normal: One Year Later, a report based on TCG board “phone tree” conversations that took place between TCG board members and member theatres in January and February 2010.


November 2009: How to Use Twitter to Build Audience

This Centerpiece explains how Twitter—a social media messaging service that limits its users to 140 characters or less—can be used by theatres to build new audiences. Callie Kimball recaps and expands upon the presentation she gave to TCG Member Theatres in last August’s Leadership Teleconference. Using real examples from theatres and performing arts organizations around the country, Callie demonstrates the best practices for theatres wanting to explore this new media territory.


 

October 2009: Taking Your Fiscal Pulse—August 2009: A Report on the Fiscal Health of the National Not-for-Profit Theatre

Taking Your Fiscal Pulse—August 2009 was TCG’s third Taking Your Fiscal Pulse snapshot survey. It also marked TCG's second collaboration with the Association of Performing Arts Service Organizations (APASO), the result of which was participation by over 465 not-for-profit theatres and a greater sense of the state of the national theatre field. This report relays national findings from this snapshot survey. Theatres reported on the actual and projected activity for their fiscal year ending anytime between spring 2009 through winter 2010. Download the Printer-Friendly PDF.

October 2009: Taking Your Fiscal Pulse—August 2009: A Report on the Fiscal Health of the San Francisco Bay Area Not-for-Profit Theatre Community

This report on the Taking Your Fiscal Pulse—August 2009 snapshot survey focuses on the 106 participating theatres that are based in the San Francisco Bay Area and are members of Theatre Bay Area (TBA). While the spotlight stays on Bay Area theatres, there are occasional comparisons to non-Bay Area theatres from across the country but only when significant differences surface.

October 2009: Taking Your Fiscal Pulse—August 2009: A Budget Group Breakdown of Data from TCG Member Theatres

This is a compilation of the responses from the 215 TCG Member Theatres that participated in the Taking Your Fiscal Pulse—August 2009 snapshot survey. The data is presented with a breakdown by budget size and is meant for informal use by TCG members.

October 2009: Measuring the Essential: Education Survey 2008

This Centerpiece begins with an introduction by Daniel Renner, director of education at Denver Center Theatre Company, who discusses the importance of developing a sound assessment model for theatre education. Renner’s introduction leads into a summary of the results from the 2008 Nation’s Arts Report Card, followed by a series of recommendations for how best to communicate the significance of these results to your school and community leaders. This publication concludes with tabulations from the 2008 TCG Education Survey exhibiting current trends in theatre education.

April 2009: Taking Your Fiscal Pulse: A Report on the Fiscal Health of the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Community

Following the completion of TCG's Taking Your Fiscal Pulse—January 2009 snapshot survey of its members, TCG relaunched the survey for members of the Association of Performing Arts Service Organizations (APASO). This report is a compilation of Bay Area data— collected with the assistance of Theatre Bay Area— from that survey, which was conducted over the period of February to April 2009. It offers the most comprehensive look at the fiscal health of not-for-profit theatres in the Bay Area since the beginning of the economic downturn.  Download the Press Release (PDF).

March 2009: The New Normal

In December 2008 and January 2009, the board of directors of Theatre Communications Group reached out to TCG’s 495 member theatres to gauge the state of the field in this challenging time. The board asked three basic questions:

  • 1. Have you done anything in the short-term to deal with the current economic situation, and if so, what?
  • 2. Have you done anything in terms of long-term planning in response to the current economy, and if so, what?
  • 3. Do you have specific suggestions for how TCG can help you get through the current economic situation?

These conversations generated enormous response from theatres all over the country—nearly 200 members participated in phone calls or email discussions with board members. Members shared their strategies, brainstormed best thinking on a variety of issues and gave us insight on how their organizations are thinking and planning during this difficult economic time. The New Normal is an executive summary of these “phone tree” conversations. It is available in pdf.

January 2009: Taking Your Fiscal Pulse—January 2009

This report is a compilation of the data from TCG's second Taking Your Fiscal Pulse snapshot survey, which was conducted in January 2009.  It highlights fiscal data from members during the period of fall 2008-winter 2009, as well as budget projections and re-projections for participants' fiscal year end. The report also includes notes on various Budget Group outliers that were discovered in the analysis. Download the Press Release (PDF) for Taking Your Fiscal Pulse: January 2009.

January 2009: Taking Your Fiscal Pulse—September 2009: Budget Group Analysis

This companion report to Taking Your Fiscal Pulse: January 2009 includes detailed data organized by Budget Group.

September 2008: Taking Your Fiscal Pulse—September 2008

In addition to regular research efforts, such as the annual Fiscal Survey, TCG launched a program in 2008 that would provide more timely and up-to-date fiscal information for its members through snapshot surveys conducted at varying points throughout the year. The results serve as an invaluable benchmarking tool for theatre leaders and also supply timely information for theatre stakeholders—trustees, foundation and corporate executives, policy makers and the national press.

September 2008: A Dialogue Among Friends: Education Survey 2007

This Centerpiece includes an article from Andrea Allen of Seattle Repertory Theatre, promoting the importance of dialogue between, and the technique of borrowing from, fellow education directors. The publication includes tabulations from the 2007 Education Survey exhibiting current trends in theatre education and encourages everyone to explore the data on their own through utilizing the customized reporting and search tools available on the TCG website.

December 2007: In Whom We Trust IV: Theatre Governing Boards in 2007

Results and analysis of the TCG 2007 Governing Boards Survey, which explores various facets of not-for-profit boards of directors, including board composition and structure, board policies, board development, board/staff relations and board committees.