Thursday, December 04, 2008

Theatre Finances - The Coming Storm

This from an article in the Providence Phoenix:

"Since the market crash," says Curt Columbus, artistic director of Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, "we've watched our ticket sales, which had been doing well, hit a wall. Almost like a cartoon animal — splat. Then we started pushing the discount ticket sales and things started to move again."

In September and October, Trinity's The Dreams of Antigone played to 90 percent capacity, Columbus says, but that was driven by the sale of discount tickets. Audience members seeking bargains seem to be the reason previews of A Christmas Carol have sold out — an unusual occurrence — but more pricey seats during the regular run remain. The result is that revenues are down. Trinity is hoping contributions — which, Columbus says, "are holding with last year's level" — will help make up the difference.

Fifty-eight percent of Rhode Island arts organizations report selling fewer tickets and 72 percent are seeing a downturn in contributions, according to a survey of 31 arts groups that the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) conducted in late October. Small and medium-size arts organizations (with budgets under $1 million) are even more heavily affected, with 89 percent saying that contributions are down.

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