AACT Survey of Community Theatre Trends

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AACT conducts occasional surveys of community theatres to identify trends. It recently released the results of it’s latest survey. Some excerpts from the survey are below.

One hundred and forty-one theatres filled out the complete survey. The results may offer some surprises, along with confirmation of what many of us have learned from our own experience. It’s always interesting to see how your theatre compares with others around the country. But you’ll also find data here that will help in your work of shaping your theatre’s artistic direction.

The Survey Universe
AACT’s survey focused on what theatres are offering in their current or upcoming season. Most, but not all, theatres offer a traditional fall-to-spring season. Whatever calendar is used, what constitutes a “main” season can be different for different theatres. Some offer only youth/family shows or provide those productions outside their main season. Some theatres offer a summer series or shows in a second venue, among other options.

The Data:
68% of surveyed theatres have a traditional fall-to-spring season.
22% have a January-to-December calendar year season
10% have seasons that do not start in the fall or in January.
53% of surveyed produce more than five shows in their main season
37% produce four to five shows in their main season
10% produce three or fewer shows
60% also produce youth or family plays outside their main season.

The largest group of theatres (25%) had budgets of less than $50,000; the second largest (21%) had budgets of $100,000 to $249,000. In total, just under two thirds (61%) of theatres surveyed had a budget of less than $500,000.

Youth Productions
Approximately 60% of theatres produce youth or family plays outside their main season. The following are the most-produced productions defined by their theatres as youth shows.

Top Youth Productions Scheduled (includes ties)

  1. Disney’s Finding Nemo JR
  2. Disney’s Beauty and the Beast JR
  3. Annie JR
  4. Disney’s Frozen JR
  5. Mean Girls JR
  6. Disney’s Descendants
  7. The Wizard of Oz: Youth Edition (tie)
  8. The Lightning Thief (tie)
  9. Disney’s High School Musical JR (tie)
  10. Footloose: Youth Edition (tie)

More from this survey in future posts.