Theatre Facts

Each year, TCG conducts a comprehensive Fiscal Survey, which is the basis for Theatre Facts, TCG’s annual in-depth report on the U.S. professional not-for-profit theatre field. Available to all member theatres, as well as the general public, Theatre Facts is a vital resource for theatre professionals, trustees, funders, policy makers, educators, and the press.

For inquiries about Theatre Facts, including obtaining reports from prior to 2000, please email Ilana B. Rose, associate director of research & collective action.

Theatre Facts 2014


Based on TCG Fiscal Survey 2014, which captured the fiscal year that theatres completed anytime between October 31, 2013 and September 30, 2014, Theatre Facts 2014 provides three lenses through which to view the not-for-profit theatre field’s attendance, performance, and fiscal health: A broad overview of the estimated 1,770 U.S. professional not-for-profit theatres (the "Universe"); a longitudinal analysis of the 118 theatres that completed the Fiscal Survey each year since 2010 ("Trend Theatres"), with a side-note offering a 10-year view, based on a subset of 88 theatres that participated each year since 2005; and a detailed examination of all 177 theatres that completed Fiscal Survey 2014 ("Profiled Theatres"), broken out into six budget categories.

The Great Recession ended just prior to the 5-year period examined in Theatre Facts 2014, and the report shows that theatres largely participated in the country’s general economic recovery. On average, the Trend Theatres saw an upswing in total income from 2010 to 2014 that was driven more by growth in contributions than earned income. Total income growth exceeded the rise in expenses over the 5-year period, resulting in a positive Change in Unrestricted Net Assets (or CUNA, which represents the theatre’s bottom line) in 2014. Half or more of theatres reported positive CUNA in each of the five years. While theatres exhibited robust upward trends in individual giving and foundation support, government funding was down considerably over time and there was lackluster growth in corporate giving. Single ticket income grew between 2010 and 2014 and theatres added more performances; however, subscription income decreased, as did total attendance. Working capital—the unrestricted resources available to meet day-to-day obligations and cash needs—improved over the past two years, but remained negative in each of the five years and remains a serious cause for concern.

To learn more about the health of the U.S. professional not-for-profit theatre field, download the full Theatre Facts 2014 report (PDF). (Please note that this is a large file, best opened with Adobe Reader versions 4.0 and higher.)

Read the Theatre Facts 2014 Press Release.

 

American Theatre Articles

A narrative version of Theatre Facts, featuring interviews with theatres leaders across the country, is published annually in the November issue of American Theatre magazine.

"Theatre Facts 2014: Clear-Eyed Optimists."

Theatre Facts 2014 finds companies in better health since the recession from playing it smart and building support. Stuart Miller's story on Theatre Facts 2014, TCG's annual analysis of the fiscal state of the U.S. professional not-for-profit theatre field, was featured in the November 2015 issue of American Theatre and is currently available on the American Theatre website.

"Theatre Facts 2013: Finding Ways to Firmer Ground." (pdf)

Theatre Facts 2013 shows companies are taking smart steps to regain their economic footing after the Great Recession. Celia Wren's story on Theatre Facts 2013—TCG's annual analysis of the fiscal state of the American not-for-profit theatre—was featured in the November 2014 issue of American Theatre.

"Theatre Facts 2012: Expect the Unexpected." (pdf)

With the worst of the recession behind them, theatre leaders must lay plans for an unpredictable future. Sarah Hart's story on Theatre Facts 2012—TCG's annual analysis of the fiscal state of the American not-for-profit theatre—was featured in the November 2013 issue of American Theatre.

"Theatre Facts 2011: Get Smart, Hold Tight." (pdf)

Sarah Hart's story on Theatre Facts 2011—TCG's annual analysis of the fiscal state of the American not-for-profit theatre—shows how theatres are deftly negotiating the bumps and curves of an economy in flux. This article was featured in the November 2012 issue of American Theatre.

"Theatre Facts 2010: Contending with the New Normal." (pdf)

Ingenuity and Flexibility are Theatres' Aces in the Hole for Maneuvering a Distressed Economy.  Sarah Hart's story on Theatre Facts 2010—TCG's annual analysis of the fiscal state of the American not-for-profit theatre—shows how the theare field is adjusting to life in a new landscape, one that increasingly demands austerity, but one that also engenders imagination and ingenuity.  This article was featured in the November 2011 issue of American Theatre.

"Theatre Facts 2009: Lean and Mean, But True to Vision." (pdf)

U.S. Theatres Stave Off Crises With Clever Strategies and Strong Programming.  Featured in the November 2010 issue of American Theatre, Sarah Hart's story on Theatre Facts 2009—TCG's annual analysis of the fiscal state of the American not-for-profit theatre—shows how many theatres turned the enormous challenges of the economic recession into an opportunity to refocus and find clarity in mission statements, branding, financial practices and staffing structures.

"Theatre Facts 2008: Agility Under Pressure." (pdf)

It's impossible not to look for harbingers of economic crises to come in the Theatre Facts 2008, TCG's annual analysis of the fiscal state of the American not-for-profit theatre. This full article (pdf) was featured in the November 2009 issue of American Theatre.  

"Theatre Facts 2007: The Readiness is All."

Anticipating Hard Times, The Field is Buttressed by Strong Numbers. Celia Wren examines the upbeat news in Theatre Facts 2007 in relation to the gloomy economic developments of recent months. The full article is featured in the November 2008 issue of American Theatre.  

"Watching the Fiscal Weather: A Digest of Theatre Facts 2006."

Celia Wren's report from the field shows that "the forecast is neither foul nor fair—and theatres are planning accordingly." Drawing on the findings of Theatre Facts 2006, the full article is featured in the November 2007 issue of American Theatre.  

"At the Intersection of Optimism and Uncertainty: A Digest of Theatre Facts 2005."

Is the glass half full or half empty? Featured in the November 2006 issue of American Theatre and based on the findings of Theatre Facts 2005, Celia Wren's article explores both the continued recovery of the nation's not-for-profit theatres and the worrisome omens that recovery harbors.

"Through the Looking-Glass: A Digest of Theatre Facts 2004."

As-yet-untried strategies may be the key to maintaining artistic gains—even in the face of cutbacks and audience uncertainty. Ben Pesner's article, based on the findings of Theatre Facts 2004, is featured in the November 2005 issue of the re-designed American Theatre.

"Singing in the Rain: A Digest of 'Theatre Facts 2003."

It certainly wasn't the best of times; but then, it wasn't the worst of times either. That's the impression one might get when sifting through tables and charts in Theatre Facts 2003, the latest installment in TCG's annual survey of the financial health of the national not-for-profit theatre field. Published in the November 2004 issue.

"Eyeing the Horizon: A Digest of Theatre Facts 2002"

While Theatre Facts 2002 covers the effects of the immediate aftermath of 9/11 and the economic recession, there was some good news. According to the article, "The data about the 1,146 Universe Theatres is particularly impressive: Collectively, these theatres sold an estimated 32.2 million tickets to 157,000 performances of 10,000 productions. Theatre Facts estimates that these institutions, which employ 109,000 individuals, generated $1.4 billion in direct expenditure to the U.S. economy in 2002. No small potatoes." By Ben Pesner. Originally published in the November 2003 issue.

"Theatre Facts 2001: Shifting Currents"

TCG's Theatre Facts 2001 tracks the field's course through a troubled year of economic downturns. Survey is pre-9/11. By Stephen Nunns. Originally published in the September 2002 issue.

"Theatre Facts 2000: Millennium Approaches"

TCG's Theatre Facts 2000 looks at the field in the final year of the 20th century. By Linda Geeson. Originally published in the September 2001 issue.