The UK Performing Arts Survey

October 2022 Insight Report

November 1, 2021
TRG Arts and Purple Seven by TRG Arts

New research shows the most price-sensitive audiences have greatest concern about a likely fall in disposable income

A recent survey conducted by 38 theatres across the UK shows that concerns around the rising cost of living and its repercussions are not spread evenly across audiences.

Of those who state they purchase the ‘best available’ seats (little price sensitivity), 20% expect their disposable income to reduce a lot or to have little or to have no disposable income over the next six months. 41% of respondents who state they look for the ‘most affordable’ seats (high price sensitivity) expect their disposable income to reduce a lot or to have little or no disposable income.

In October 2022, only 6% of respondents overall expected their attendance at live performances to decrease compared to pre-pandemic levels in the next twelve months. The figure was higher for respondents from London venues (10%), those who on average pay less than £15 for a ticket (8%), those who state they purchase the most affordable tickets (8%) and those whose day-to-day activities are significantly limited because of a health problem or disability (8%).

These findings come from October 2022 UK Performing Arts Survey. The sample of over 1,000 responses comes from the audiences of 38 participating venues around the UK. Participating venues include both commercial and not for profit organisations. As well as both producing and presenting theatres of all scales, concert halls are also represented.

The survey is managed by TRG Arts/Purple Seven on behalf of the participating venues. The questionnaire has been designed by Morris Hargreaves Macintyre and Data Culture Change. Analysis of responses and report writing has been led by Data Culture Change. 

TRG Arts UK Managing Director Tony Followell commented: “It is heartening that in every one of our last six monthly surveys a greater number of respondents have consistently stated that they expect to attend more in the next year than those who say they expect to attend less. It is concerning to see the numbers who are unsure about their future attendance is growing. Venue managers should be acting now to ensure their pricing strategies are for purpose in the challenging times ahead.

Data Culture Change’s Chief Executive David Brownlee commented: “While it is unsurprising that there is a correlation between expected reduction in disposable income and expected reduction in attendance, it is those who were already most price sensitive that most expect their income to fall. While most of those who expect a little reduction in disposable income will look to reduce the overall cost of their nights out, more than half of those who expect to have little or no disposable income state they will simply stop going to live performances.