What exactly is a “typical” theatregoer? Is there such a thing? In the wide spectrum of people who attend live performances, are there any commonalities among them? In order to help answer these questions and provide insight into the world of live performance audiences, the League of Professional Theatre Artists (or LPTAS for short) conducts annual research on their audience. This page will introduce you to the results of that research so you can learn more about this important segment of your potential audience. The information here comes from their 2017 study, which was based on responses from nearly 2,000 people across the U.S., with a special focus on New York City. Whether you’re hoping to reach new audiences or simply want to know more about your current one, this is an excellent place to start!
How old are theatregoers?
On a general level, the average theatregoer is highly likely to be between the ages of 18 and 64, meaning that most of their income is probably available for discretionary spending. However, as is true with any large group of people, there is likely to be some variation. The most notable difference among age groups is where the majority of each group’s discretionary spending is likely to go. While younger theatregoers are often attending concerts or other forms of pop culture events, those in the middle-aged range and up are more likely to be attending the theatre.
Are most audience members male or female?
The theatregoing population is fairly split when it comes to gender, with men making up just over half and women making up just under half. What’s more, these numbers have remained fairly consistent over time. There’s a small fluctuation each year, but nothing that’s statistically significant. This seems to suggest that either theatre is truly a medium for everyone, or men and women are equally attracted to it. While this may not be the case for every theatre audience, it does show that gender doesn’t seem to be a significant factor for audiences.
Where do theatregoers live?
Like the data on audience gender, the data on geography tells us that theatre audiences are pretty diverse. Again, there are small fluctuations from year to year, but nothing to indicate any significant change. Given that some regions are more populous than others, this even distribution is definitely good news for the theatre industry. It means that a theatre can reach a wider audience regardless of where it’s located.
What is the average income for a theatregoer?
The average income of a theatregoer is usually between $25,000 and $75,000. The average falls most commonly in the $35,000 to $45,000 range, but there’s a fairly wide range of incomes among those who attend. This suggests that theatre has a wide appeal that goes well beyond the upper middle class. Unfortunately, the data doesn’t indicate what percentage of each income range is attending. It could be that there’s a small percentage of high-income individuals who are responsible for most theatre attendance. Because the data doesn’t distinguish between a few high-income attendees and a majority of middle-income ones, we don’t know for sure.
What types of performances do they attend?
Theatregoers attend a wide variety of performances. While musicals are certainly the most popular, the data suggests that people are also attending some excellent non-musical plays. As you may expect, musicals are most popular among younger audiences, while plays are more popular among older people. The chart below shows audience preferences for specific performance types.
Which type of performance is most popular with audiences?
While musicals are clearly the most popular type of performance, it’s interesting to note that the second-most-attended type is actually non-musical theatre. This suggests that while musicals are the most popular overall, theatregoers appreciate a wide variety of performances. This is great news for theatre companies, who can use it as a starting point to help shape their future programming.
Which show has attracted the biggest audience so far this season?
While some shows are just starting their runs, others have already ended their season. The data suggests that “Hamilton” has attracted the biggest audience so far this season. Based on the average income of this audience, it’s likely that most of those who attended would be in the upper middle class or higher. This is just a guess, but it makes sense given the median income for a “Hamilton” ticket. Unfortunately, the data doesn’t give any insights into who attended other high-attended shows. This is likely because a small percentage of attendees completed the survey and revealed that information, which skews the data.
Overall, the data from the annual theatre audience survey is encouraging. It suggests that theatre is a medium that appeals to a broad and diverse audience. This means that it’s possible to reach a wide range of people through live performance, no matter where they’re located or what their income level is. The data also suggests that theatre companies have even more opportunity for audience growth beyond their current attendance levels. The trick is to figure out how to reach this wide audience, and that’s where the data here can be helpful. Hopefully, it’s given you a better idea of what your typical theatregoer looks like and what might appeal to them. From there, you can use that information to help grow your audience and keep the theatre industry thriving.