Non-for-profit theatres diversifying the economy
In October 2015, the Theatre Communications Group released its thirty-fifth annual research report, Theatre Facts 2014. The report reflects data from the fiscal years 2013/2014 from a broad overview of the estimated 1,770 U.S. professional nonprofit theaters. It shows that contributions have driven the American theater’s comeback from the 2008 recession, and that theater, by and large, is thriving—and it is doing so in the face of increased pressure for more earned income dollars due to decreases in government funding and corporate giving and financial obstacles presented by the Great Recession. The report concludes the following:
Professional not-for-profit theatres can be found in every state and provide meaningful employment to artists, technicians, and administrators. In 2014, they created a diverse and rich theatrical legacy. They are significant contributors to their communities and to the U.S. economy. We estimate that theatres contributed over $2 billion to the economy in the form of direct compensation and payment for space, services, and materials. They shared their art with 32.8 million patrons and provided employment to 135,000 artists, administrators, and technical personnel. They created 216,000 performances of 22,000 productions that now represent the U.S. professional not-for-profit theatre heritage of 2014.2
According to the National Endowment for the Arts, the arts (performing, visual, and literary) contribute $698 billion to the U.S. economy each year.3 Numbers, of course, cannot tell the whole story. On a balance sheet and income statement, numbers represent the salaries of artists and technicians—and every new space built with community development grant dollars signifies living and breathing members of a community.