Ten years of statistics on performing arts attendance in Quebec

(Dix ans de statistiques sur la fréquentation des arts de la scène, Optique culture no 34, September 2014)

Author: 

This report examines performing arts attendance in Quebec over a ten-year period (2004-2013), including performances of theatre, dance, music, comedy, circus, and magic. In 2013, the most recent year of the study, there were 17,100 performances with an admission fee in Quebec, attracting 6.7 million spectators and generating $229 million in box office revenues.

Over the long term, performing arts attendance in Quebec has not grown. There has been significant year-to-year variation in attendance between 2004 and 2013, with overall attendance fluctuating between 6.6 million and 7.4 million during this period. The 2013 result (attendance of 6.7 million) is close to the low end of this range (4% below the level in 2004), while the 2012 estimate (7.3 million) was close to the high end.

Box office revenues grew from $182 million in 2004 to $229 million in 2013, a 26% increase. However, the 2013 level is substantially below the peak of $275 million in 2009.

Between 2004 and 2013, the number of performances increased by 6%, reaching 17,100 in 2013.

The combination of lack of attendance growth and increasing box office revenues between 2004 and 2013 led to a 29% increase in revenues per paying attendee (an approximation of the average ticket price). In addition, there are fewer complimentary tickets available for Quebec performances in recent years: in 2013, 11.4% of attendees received a complimentary ticket, the lowest percentage during the ten-year history of the survey.

The report provides data by discipline only for a five-year period (2009 to 2013). During this timeframe, compared with an overall 15% decrease in attendance and a 13% decrease in box office revenues:

  • Variety performances (including comedy, circus, magic, music theatre, and music hall) had attendance of 2.0 million in 2013 (32% of total performing arts attendance), a decrease of 12% from 2009. Variety shows received $73 million in box office revenues, a substantial decrease from 2009 (34%).
  • Attendance at performances by singers was 1.8 million in 2013 (27% of total performing arts attendance), a 15% decrease from 2009. These vocal performances generated $78 million in box office revenues, a decrease of 13% from 2009.
  • Theatre had attendance of 1.5 million in 2013 (23% of total performing arts attendance), a decrease of 5% from 2009. Theatrical performances received $35 million in box office revenues, a 5% increase from 2009.
  • Attendance at music performances (excluding singers) was 954,000 in 2013 (14% of total performing arts attendance), a 2% decrease from 2009. Music performances generated $31 million in box office revenues, an increase of 4% from 2009.
  • Dance performances had attendance of 264,000 in 2013 (4% of total performing arts attendance), a decrease of 3% from 2009. Among the disciplines, dance registered the largest increase in box office revenues between 2009 and 2013 (29%, reaching $11 million in 2013).

 

Summary: 

This report examines performing arts attendance in Quebec over a ten-year period (2004-2013), including performances of theatre, dance, music, comedy, circus, and magic. In 2013, the most recent year of the study, there were 17,100 performances with an admission fee in Quebec, attracting 6.7 million spectators and generating $229 million in box office revenues. Over the long term, performing arts attendance in Quebec has not grown.