Culture Restart: audience and visitor tracking research, May 2021

Culture Restart: audience and visitor tracking research, May 2021


The May 2021 findings from the Culture Restart research by the Insights Alliance, a partnership between Baker RichardsIndigo and One Further. The research supports cultural organisations at all stages of reopening, and will track customer sentiment over six months, giving organisations instant access to audience insight and building a national picture for the benefit of the whole sector.


A further 7,170 responses gathered in May 2021 by the Culture Restart Audience & Visitor Tracker from the Insights Alliance (Indigo Ltd, Baker Richards and One Further) show that:

  • Confidence levels among those who have returned to cultural events or venues are at their highest since October 2020
  • 61% of previously frequent cultural attenders have now booked for events in the future - with 2/3 of those having booked for multiple events
  • A further 17% say they plan to book within the next 3 months but 22% are not ready to book for at least another 3 months or say they are not sure when

Booking for future events

  • 61% of respondents in May have made bookings for cultural events or planned visits / activities in the future - an increase from 56% in April
  • Those who have booked are more likely to have booked for multiple events than one event.

Attitudes to attending cultural events again

  • Older audiences are less likely to have made bookings in the future - only 50% of Over 75s have booked and 58% of those aged 65-74, compared to around 65% for age groups under 65.
  • There has been a reduction in the proportion who are say they are 'not sure when' they will book - now 10% overall compared to 18% in January.
  • More than 1/5 of previously frequent cultural attenders are not planning to book for more than 3 months.

Safety measures

  • A majority of respondents would feel uncomfortable about no restrictions in place subject to Covid testing on arrival - though this fell again in April/May
  • The proportion of those saying certain measures - including socially distanced seating and face coverings - are 'essential' to their return continues to decrease, but majority still say they are 'OK' with them being in place
  • 21% feel uncomfortable about vaccine passports - rising to 62% for those who haven't been vaccinated

Digital culture

  • The proportion of respondents who said they would be very interested or interested in engaging with culture online in future has been 34% in both April and May.
  • For those who have engaged during Covid, 25% say they will continue to pay for events, exhibitions and activities online in future and 59% will consider it.
  • There is little difference among different age groups.

Download the full report

Tuesday 22 June, 2pm | Book your  place →
Nearly a month ago, the first audiences returned to live in-person performances in England and the Experience Surveys captured audience sentiment pre and post-visit. The Insights Alliance - Indigo Ltd, Baker Richards and One Further - present the feedback from the first audiences back along with the latest Audience Tracker data from May, and consider what the findings mean for sector recovery in the coming months.

headshots of Katy Raines, Chris Unitt and David Barnes

About Culture Restart

The Culture Restart Audience & Visitor Tracker is the successor to Indigo Ltd’s After the Interval sentiment tracker. Developed by the Insights Alliance – Indigo Ltd, Baker Richards and One Further – the Tracker has been following sentiments and confidence of cultural audiences since October 2020. Reports have been released regularly, with Baker Richards providing analysis of the data and results shared in an interactive dashboard created by One Further.

This update reports on fieldwork from cultural organisations including theatres, arts centres and touring companies across the UK during since October 2020, and does not cover the West End. 75% of respondents usually attend culture four or more times per year. There have so far been over 42,000 responses from 70 participating cultural organisations.

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Audience Behaviour Research
Resource type: Research | Published: 2021