A bleak midwinter? A deep dive from our Covid-19 participation monitor

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A bleak midwinter? A deep dive from our Covid-19 participation monitor

© Photo: Felix Polgar, Unsplash

By The Audience Agency


Despite many theatre organisations being able to struggle through the various restrictions and impacts of the last 2 years, is this winter when the damage will really be felt? 

With willingness to return still stubbornly low and fresh concerns over a resurgence of the virus, concern is high as we head into what is, for most theatre venues, the most crucial period of the year.

Following our initial findings from the fourth wave of The Audience Agency’s Cultural Participation Monitor that we published recently, we now have a deep dive into panto and christmas shows are likely to fare in 2021.

This report from The Audience Agency shares findings from a nationwide survey, the Cultural Participation Monitor. It is part of a wider national research programme that is building a robust and in-depth picture of the impacts of Covid-19 on the UK’s cultural sector.

This report dives deeper into cultural participation monitor findings and ticket sales data relating to christmas performances in UK theatres and venues. It presents evidence to support the following:

  • Christmas sales are particularly important for venues
  • They are, and are likely to remain, lower this year than in pre-pandemic years
  • Older audiences are particularly affected and this also reflects longer-term trends
  • This presents a particular risk to venues, most acutely this year, but also looking further ahead.

Read the full report for more detail on the above findings.

The Covid-19 Cultural Participation Monitor is a research survey that samples thousands of people from all UK regions and walks of life, adding insight about the wider public's changing views on participating in creative and cultural activities through the pandemic.

It will take place in several waves so that changes in attitudes, behaviours and intentions can to be plotted accurately as the crisis evolves. This report is based on data from the fourth wave of the Cultural Participation Monitor (September 2021).

This report is part of a wider research programme led by the Centre for Cultural Value in collaboration with the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre and The Audience Agency. This project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) through UK Research and Innovation’s COVID-19 rapid rolling call.

Published: 2021
Resource type: Research