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Research Update: How Does Philadelphia Theatre Compare Nationally?

A few months ago, the Cultural Alliance released 2015 Portfolio: Culture Across Communities, our first national research report. Now, we're sharing a deeper dive into each discipline examined in the report, to share how Philadelphia's arts and culture communities compare nationally. 

For context, there were 63 theater organizations in Philadelphia and 917 theater organizations nationally (across the 11 metro regions examined).

The key takeaway: Philadelphia's theater community is out performing the general theatre community. Attendance is flat or increasing in Philadelphia, while nationally it is down. 

  Philadelphia Nationally (11 Metro Regions*)
Change in Paid Attendance 1% -3%
Change in Free Attendance 40% -15%

Philadelphia has notably fewer theater organizations in a deficit over 10% (only 6.3% compared to 17.4% nationally) and a comparable percentage of organizations in a deficit of less than 10%.

The largest source of revenue for both local and national theater organizations is admissions and tickets. While ticket revenue is up locally and nationally, it is important to note the differences in members and subscribers. In Philadelphia the number of subscribers is falling, as is the revenue generated from subscriptions. Interestingly while the number of members has decreased, the revenue they generate is up. 

  Philadelphia Nationally (11 Metro Regions*)
Number of Subscribers -0.4% -4.2%
Revenue from Subscribers -20.0% -12.7%
Number of Members -15.1% -3.3%
Revenue from Members 24.0% -6.0%

The total revenue is up nationally and in Philadelphia (8.3% and 11.9% respectively). Nationally this is due to strong gains in contributed income. In Philadelphia both contributed and earned income are up, bucking the trend of decreased contributed income we've seen in other disciplines.

For more information on 2015 Portfolio: Culture Across Communities and other Alliance research projects, click here, and stay tuned next month when we take a closer look at another discipline.


*2015 Portfolio: Culture Across Communities examined the following 11 metro regions: Bay Area, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburg, Twin Cities, and Washington DC.