New Study Shows Uphill Climb for Performing Arts

By Francisco Salazar
(Credit: Ryan Donnell)

As the 2020-21 seasons come into focus in the opera world, companies are starting to face tough decisions.

Many have already postponed or suspended the upcoming season while others are giving hints reprogramming and re-imagining. Some theaters are starting to reopen with a limited audience as is the case with the Staatstheater Weisbaden.

But a recent study conducted in mid-May by sports and events analytics firm Performance Research, in partnership with Full Circle Research Co., theaters and the performance arts have a steep climb ahead in terms of bringing audiences back into the fold.

The survey, which asked 1,000 people whether they would rather see a first-run feature as a digital rental at home or in a movie theater, 70 percent said they would be more inclined to stay at home and watch it on their couch.

The research also found that even after the CDC and local governments say it’s safe to attend large public events, 52 percent  said they would attend fewer large public events and 60 percent of respondents noted that the idea of attending a big public event will scare them for a long time.

The research also noted that 39 percent will attend major indoor concerts less often and 33 percent answered they would attend theater and performing arts venues less often.

Major performing arts venues have yet to open and most are parts of Phase four of reopening stages. In Los Angeles County, government officials have already announced plans to reopen most businesses by July 4 but movie theaters and performing arts venues are not mentioned in that July 4 opening.

In New York, Broadway has already canceled all shows until Sept. 6 with some speculating they will not reopen until 2021; government officials have already announced that larger venues will not open until they reach Phase four which has yet to be officially programmed on the calendar.