One in three theatre companies claim touring boost since 2014 – report
More than a third of theatre companies have seen an upsurge in their touring work over the past two years, a study suggests.
According to a major new report, From Live-to-Digital, 36% of 129 companies polled said they had increased the amount of touring work they produce since 2014.
One in five said they had seen a decrease in their touring work over the past two years, while 42% said their output remained the same.
The research was carried out by Arts Council England, UK Theatre and the Society of London Theatre to assess the impact of digital theatre screenings on live attendance – but it also highlighted several trends in the touring market.
Rural touring in particular has experienced a significant boom, with 53% of companies based in rural areas reporting an upswing in touring levels.
The most stable companies were found to be those with the biggest budgets, only 7% of which cited a slump in touring work. Of those with budgets under £1 million, nearly a quarter said their touring work had decreased.
But these companies were still in the minority. Of those with a budget under £200,000, 37% saw an increase in tours, while 43% of those with a budget between £200,000 and £1 million reported the same.
Notably, a slightly higher proportion of companies who had produced live-to-digital work saw a drop in touring work (21%) than those who had not (18%).
Asked about touring, only six out of 131 theatre companies said live-to-digital had been cited by venues as a reason their work was not programmed.
The main two reasons companies gave for their lower levels of touring were a difficulty in finding suitable venues and a lack of funding to subsidise their tours. One in five said there was less interest in their shows.
The report also found that 88% of theatres surveyed are planning to increase the number of live performances they stage.
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