Advance ticket sales and income at arts venues nationwide dropped by 92% year-on-year following Boris Johnson’s advice that theatres close, new data reveals.
The findings are the result of analysis of comparative advance sales on March 17, 2020 – the day after Johnson’s advice – and the equivalent day last year.
They have been published as part of a new partnership between arts management consultancy TRG Arts, and arts data specialist Purple Seven.
The tie-up aims to provide intelligence and advice to the sector in the wake of the closure of most of the nation’s arts venues. It aims to bring together Purple Seven’s live sales feeds from hundreds of UK arts venues and the data analysis expertise of TRG.
TRG chief executive Jill Robinson said: “It is vital that the UK arts sector works together with robust, real-time data to understand and react to the rapidly changing landscape. On the day after the government imposed shutdown, leaders of theatres and concert halls were focusing on managing a phenomenal onslaught of requests for refunds. This in itself will have a huge impact on cashflow, but it will be multiplied if advance bookings dwindle.”
She added: “To safeguard the UK’s world-renowned cultural sector, the government needs to ensure the sector has grants to deal with the immediate crisis. At the same time arts lovers need to show support for their local venues not only by making donations but also by purchasing advance tickets.”
Robinson described the future situation as a “marathon, not a sprint” and said both companies would be monitoring the financial ‘advance’ for the sector and encouraging venues to do all they can to ensure that when their doors reopen their seats are full.
Purple Seven chief executive Stuart Nicolle added: “As we travel through and beyond the immediate crisis it will be crucial that we work together to understand what has changed and how we need to adapt the way we work. Our partnership with TRG Arts to provide intelligence and practical guidance for the sector reflects the behaviour the sector needs for resilience: innovation, collaboration and generosity of spirit.”
Purple Seven uses a daily feed from 196 venues from every nation and region around the UK. The sample includes West End and regional venues and both commercial and funded organisations. The size of venues range from small studio theatres to major presenting houses of more than 1,000 seats.