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One in four young adults never go to the theatre, survey finds

Audiences should not fear going to the theatre following the recent Paris attacks, says Richard Jordan. Photo: Shutterstock

Almost a quarter of young adults never go to the theatre, preferring to stay at home to watch TV or use social media, according to new research.

A study of 2,000 18 to 30-year-olds found that 24% of respondents said they never attend theatre performances, with this figure higher among men than women.

And 20% of respondents said they go once a year, with 27% attending two to three times a year.

Of those surveyed, 51% said they most enjoyed watching TV in their spare time, compared to 11% who chose going to the theatre. More respondents chose using social media (36%) over a trip to a theatre production.

The survey found that ticket prices was the top factor which, if improved, would encourage young adults to attend the theatre more regularly.

Respondents also said they would welcome interactive technologies, such as virtual and augmented reality, if they were made available as part of visits.

People who were taken to shows as a child were more likely to continue visits as an adult, with 59% now going at least once a year.

Of those who never went to the theatre as children, 65% have never gone as adults.

The poll was carried out for specialist insurers Ecclesiastical, which operates in the arts, heritage, education and church sectors.

Its heritage director Faith Kitchen said: “While many theatres have done some fantastic work diversifying their offering to attract younger audiences, clearly more needs to be done to engage the millions of young adults who aren’t visiting these incredible places across Britain.”

In addition to theatre, the research also covered visits and attitudes towards museums, galleries and heritage buildings.

The poll was conducted online by researchers One Poll, which operates an online panel of members who take part in its surveys. It said the 2,000 people took the poll in October 2018 and composed a nationally representative UK sample.