Theatre Facts

Each year, TCG conducts a comprehensive fiscal survey, which is the basis for Theatre Facts, TCG’s annual in-depth theatre field report. Available to all member theatres, as well as the general public, Theatre Facts is the only document analyzing the professional not-for-profit American theatre and is a vital advocacy and policy tool for trustees, foundation and corporate executives, policy makers and the national press.

Theatre Facts 2012

Based on TCG Fiscal Survey 2012, which covers the fiscal year that theatres completed anytime between October 31, 2011 and September 30, 2012, Theatre Facts 2012 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 1,782 U.S. not-for-profit professional theatres (the “Universe”), a longitudinal analysis of the 112 theatres that completed the Fiscal Survey each year since 2008 (“Trend Theatres”) and a detailed examination of the 178 theatres that completed the 2012 Survey (“Profiled Theatres”), broken out into six budget categories.

 Analysis of the Trend Theatres shows that 2012 brought an overall return to pre-recession levels after difficult times during the height of the recent economic crisis, reflecting general economic trends in society. The average Trend Theatre ended 2012 with essentially breakeven CUNA (the Change in Unrestricted Net Assets, or total unrestricted income minus total unrestricted expenses), with total income growth nearly mirroring inflation and virtually flat expense growth vis-à-vis 2008. Despite 5-year overall decreases, subscription income and the number of season ticket holders rose from 2011 to 2012, showing potential promise for the future. Single ticket income was at a 5-year high in 2012, rising annually since 2009, as was the number of single tickets sold. There were increases in contributions from 6 of 11 sources of funding from 2011 to 2012. Seven of 11 expense categories were at their highest 5-year average in absolute dollars in the past year, including every category of payroll. Capital campaigns brought theatres substantial growth in new, improved or expanded facilities. However, average working capital—the unrestricted resources available to meet day-to-day obligations and cash needs, and a fundamental building block of a theatre’s capital structure—was negative and grave cause for concern in each of the past 5 years, becoming increasingly severe in 2009 and 2010, improving somewhat in 2011 and declining again in 2012.

Read Theatre Facts 2012 (PDF). Please note that this is a large file, best opened with Adobe Reader versions 4.0 and higher.

Read the Theatre Facts 2012 Press Release.

 

Twelve past reports are available online (PDFs):

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

Narrative Versions

A narrative version of Theatre Facts is published annually in American Theatre magazine. This article provides case studies and anecdotes from prominent managing leaders in the field.

"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.