The following is an excerpt from an insight report published on August 31, 2021, "Examining the Current State of the 2021/22 Holiday Season for the Performing Arts in North America, the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland." This report is part of a larger project called the COVID-19 Sector Benchmark Dashboard conducted by TRG Arts and Purple Seven to help arts organizations in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. understand how the COVID-19 virus has affected operations.
“After 2020’s largely ‘cancelled’ celebrations, it might have been expected that that the 2021/22 season would be a bumper one for the performing arts venues in North America, fuelled by pent-up demand. Clearly early signs are generally not positive, but with 10% of organizations pacing ahead of 2019 the picture is not entirely bleak. In the U.K. we are observing strong early performance of ‘blockbuster’ productions this Christmas, demonstrating that those producers and venues making an investment in marketing are seeing a return on it. There’s still a long way to go and with concerted action in every venue and collectively across the industry, this Christmas could still be a good one for theatres.
Jill Robinson, Chief Executive Officer, TRG Arts
ABOUT THE PROJECT
The COVID-19 Sector Benchmark Dashboard, developed by TRG Arts in collaboration with U.K.-based audience analytics company Purple Seven, launched in early April 2020. The dashboard, which is free, provides near real-time intelligence and advice to help arts leaders see results as they respond to the pandemic. The project is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to SMU DataArts, TRG Arts' longtime partner in advancing the arts and cultural sector.
When an organization signs up for the dashboard, an automated data feed is set up between the organization’s box office and the dashboard’s secure server. The automated feed provides a daily update on ticket sales, refunds, and donations for the organization. In addition, data from all other organizations participating in the dashboard is aggregated in an anonymous format to create a national benchmark, which shows up on the dashboard and allows an organization to see how it compares with a large group of its peers. The dashboard is entirely anonymous, so no one else’s sales figures or customer data are identifiable to an organization. The dashboard provides daily insights for individual organizations that they can share with constituents and stakeholders; reveals sector trends in almost real-time, which can assist in short- and long-term planning; allows arts leaders and policymakers to track daily sales data across entire sectors; and by data gathering and benchmarking across the U.K., Canada, and the U.S., gives a clearer picture of the effects of the virus on the arts sector and the recovery in each country. Monthly Insight Reports will be posted on the SMU DataArts and TRG Arts websites. Read more in the press release.