AACT Survey of Community Theatre Trends (part 3)

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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.

Over half (53%) of the surveyed theatres produce one to two musicals each season, with the largest segment (30%) producing two. Of the 160 musical titles scheduled, 56% were listed by only one theatre in the survey. This compares with 75% of non-musical play titles listed by only one theatre. Most theatre appear to be scheduling more well-known musicals because national trends seem to suggest box office sales are greater for titles or familiar themes audiences know.

The Data:
32% of surveyed theatres produce two musicals a year
21% produce one musical a year
21% produce three musicals a year
14% produce more than four musicals a year
12% produce four musicals a year
[Note that some theatres produce only musicals]

Most-Scheduled Musicals (includes ties)

  1. The Lightning Thief
  2. Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (tie 2nd)
  3. The Addams Family (tie 2nd)
  4. 9 to 5 (tie 2nd)
  5. The Prom
  6. Fiddler on the Roof (tie 4th)
  7. A Christmas Carol (tie 4th)
  8. The Wizard of Oz
  9. Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (tie 6th)
  10. Pippin (tie 6th)
  11. Something Rotten (tie 7th)
  12. The Sound of Music (tie 7th)
  13. 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (tie 7th)
  14. Sweeney Todd (tie 7th)
  15. You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (tie 7th)