SMU DataArts - Cultural Data Profile


Nonprofit Theatre Sector Faces an All-Time Low for Total Earned Income in 2022

  • Posted Apr 17, 2024

3-minute read

The 43rd edition of Theatre Facts from Theatre Communications Group (TCG) is an in-depth report examining the attendance, performance, and overall fiscal health of the nonprofit theatre sector to emphasize its significant artistic, educational and economic contributions as we strategize rebuilding for the future.

Not-for-profit theatres contributed $2.3 billion to the U.S. economy and attracted 10 million audience members in 2022, according to Theatre Facts 2022, released by Theatre Communications Group (TCG) in partnership with SMU DataArts. Based on TCG's Fiscal Survey and SMU DataArts’ Cultural Data Profile (CDP), Theatre Facts is the only in-depth report that examines the attendance, performance, and overall fiscal state of the U.S. professional not-for-profit theatre field.

Bristol Riverside Theatre, Bristol, PA. Photo by Mark Garvin. Bristol Riverside Theatre, Bristol, PA. Photo by Mark Garvin.

Theatre Facts 2022 aims to shed light on the continued impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the funding sources that sustained organizations through the pandemic and how some theatres have been able to thrive during this transformative period. This report focuses on organizational fiscal years ending between October 2021 and September 2022, thus capturing a second full fiscal year impacted by the pandemic, following Theatre Facts 2021.


Three sections of this report exist to provide different levels of perspective:

  • The Universe: a broad overview of the estimated 2,006 U.S. professional not-for-profit theatres. 
  • Trend Theatres: a longitudinal analysis of the 131 theatres that participated in either the TCG Fiscal Survey or CDP each year from 2018 to 2022, with COVID-19 impacts explored from 2019 into 2022.
  • Profiled Theatres: explores the overall state of 174 theatres that completed a CDP in 2022 with data broken out into six budget categories based on annual expenses.

Key Findings

  • As theatres reopened their doors and resumed programming in 2022, expenses rose substantially. Contributed income also rose during this period, but it grew at a slower rate. While contributed revenue hit a five-year high, earned hit a five-year low.
  • Long-term sustainability is a concern for the sector if the trend of substantial expense growth coupled with less robust income growth continues into the future.
  • Total ticket income, encompassing both subscription and single ticket sales revenue, increased in 2022 after a five-year low in 2021, but was still 55% lower than in 2018.


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Theatre Communication Group’s Theatre Facts 2022 was written by Rebecca Roscoe, senior research associate, SMU DataArts; Jen Benoit-Bryan, research director, SMU DataArts; Daniel Fonner, associate director for research, SMU DataArts; Zannie Giraud Voss, professor and director of SMU DataArts at Southern Methodist University (SMU); Teresa Eyring, executive director and CEO, TCG; Rachel Hip-Flores, communications associate, TCG; and Corinna Schulenburg, director of communications, TCG.



Theatre Communications Group (TCG) exists to strengthen, nurture, and promote professional theatre in the U.S. and globally. Since its founding in 1961, TCG’s constituency has grown from a handful of groundbreaking theatres to over 700 Member Theatres and affiliate organizations and nearly 10,000 Individual Members. Through its Core Values of Activism, Artistry, Diversity, and Global Citizenship, TCG advances a better world for theatre and a better world because of theatre. TCG offers its members networking and knowledge-building opportunities through research, communications, and events, including the annual TCG National Conference, one of the largest nationwide gatherings of theatre people; awards grants and scholarships, approximately $2 million per year, to theatre companies and individual artists; advocates on the federal level; and through the Global Theater Initiative, TCG's partnership with the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics, serves as the U.S. Center of the International Theatre Institute. TCG is North America’s largest independent trade publisher of dramatic literature, with 17 Pulitzer Prizes for Drama on the TCG booklist. It also publishes the award-winning American Theatre magazine and ARTSEARCH®, the essential source for a career in the arts. In all of its endeavors, TCG seeks to increase the organizational efficiency of its Member Theatres, cultivate and celebrate the artistic talent and achievements of the field, and promote a larger public understanding of, and appreciation for, the theatre.

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