Subsidy or a perceived lack of one is not responsible for systematic programming choices. The problem with making an argument that increased subsidies will help is that the American Theatre is in fact heavily subsidized.
In TCG's Theatre Facts for 2007 the estimated revenue for the "UNIVERSE OF U.S. NOT-FOR-PROFIT PROFESSIONAL THEATRES" (1,910 Theatres) was $961 million (tax-free), with another $919 million in tax deductable contributions.
If you add up all of the revenue from all of the non-profit theatres over the last fifty years and figure out that potential tax-bill, along with all the tax deductions that donors received for giving money to arts organizations, it would be a staggering number. It also is the actual level of governmental subsidy of the American theatre.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
On the Subsidy Question
Tony, over at the Halcyon Theatre blog, says that the problem with what's on the stages of American theaters will not be solved by subsidies: