World Theatre Day… by the numbers

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Based on various Statistics Canada sources, this brief fact sheet examines the number of theatre companies in Canada, their revenues and expenditures, theatre’s contribution to the economy, public spending on tickets, as well as the number and earnings of theatre artists and students.

According to the fact sheet, in 2014, there were:

  • 393 theatre companies in Canada, including 133 in Quebec (the highest number among the provinces).
  • 67 musical theatre and opera companies in Canada, including 29 in Ontario (most among the provinces).
  • 248 venue-based performing arts presenters in Canada, including 100 in Quebec (the highest number among the provinces).

The 2012 Statistics Canada Performing Arts Survey found that Canadian theatre companies (including for-profit and not-for-profit companies, excluding musical theatre and opera) had total operating revenues of $444 million, total operating expenses of $461 million, and an operating deficit representing 3.7% of revenues.

The performing arts industry, including theatre companies, directly contributed $1.8 billion to Canada’s Gross Domestic Product and generated 49,000 jobs in 2010, according to data from the Culture Satellite Account.

Statistics Canada’s revised Survey of Household Spending groups spending on live performing arts with spending on live sports. Average household spending on live sporting and performing arts events was $126 in 2013. The Survey of Household Spending shows large shifts which may reflect inaccuracies in the estimates or possibly real changes: the 2013 estimate ($126) was a 39% increase from the 2012 estimate ($91).

According to estimates of the employed labour force from the 2011 National Household Survey, there were 7,805 actors and comedians in Canada in 2011, as well as 21,655 producers, directors, choreographers, and related occupations. These employed labour force estimates are smaller than estimates in a recent Hill Strategies Research report, which used the experienced labour force, including employed and unemployed individuals in May 2011. The median employment income of actors and comedians was just $9,700 in 2010, compared with median employment income of $40,700 for producers, directors, choreographers, and related occupations. (These statistics are incorrectly reported as “average employment income” in the Statistics Canada fact sheet.)

Regarding students, the fact sheet indicates that there were 7,101 people enrolled in post-secondary drama, theatre arts, and stagecraft programs in 2012/13. Among Canadians 25 to 64 years of age with a university degree, 2.9% were in visual and performing arts. In 2014/15, the average university tuition fee was $5,287 for full-time undergraduate students in visual and performing arts or communications technologies programs.

Summary: 

Based on various Statistics Canada sources, this brief fact sheet examines the number of theatre companies in Canada, their revenues and expenditures, theatre’s contribution to the economy, public spending on tickets, as well as the number and earnings of theatre artists and students.