This report summarizes the findings from our survey of 1,031 Canadians on the value of performing arts presentation. It complements the survey of presenters we released in February in drawing a more complete picture of the value, impact and benefits the sector contributes to Canadians.
Some highlights include:
- 75 % of Canadians attended at least one performing arts event by professional artists in 2011. This is an important increase compared to Statistics Canada’s 2005 General Social Survey (49% had attended “a concert or performance by professional artists of music, dance, theatre, or opera” and/or a “cultural festival”).
- More Canadians attended a performing arts event in 2011 compared to other forms of ‘live’ leisure activities, like going to museums, galleries or historic sites, visiting conservation/nature parks, or live sporting events.
- While Canadians increasingly engage with professional performing arts beyond live, in-person presentations, (seven in ten have used television and 46% have used the Internet to view or listen to performing arts presentations in the past year), they are twice as likely to ascribe a high importance to live performing arts attendance than to any media-based consumption.
- Canadians experience live professional performing arts in a variety of settings beyond the concert hall or theatre. Yet, they believe there is a role for performing arts facilities/venues in providing community-wide benefits, such as quality of life, sense of pride and economic development, and perhaps to a greater extent than the performing arts themselves. This highlights an understanding in the general public that the facilities, places, and structures that host the performing arts are both symbolically and functionally important to communities.
- 29% of Canadians believe that the community as whole benefits most from the presentation of the performing arts, and another 36% believe that the community and attendees benefit equally. Thus, 2 in 3 Canadians (65%) believe that the community as whole benefits more or as much as individual attendees from the presentation of the performing arts. Importantly, those who do not attend performing arts have no less of an appreciation for the benefits to the community as a whole. They are only less likely to see the individual benefits.
- Canadians believe that the presentation of performing arts brings energy and vitality to communities, improves quality of life and well-being of residents, makes communities more creative and fosters a stronger sense of pride and identity. These were ranked as the main benefits of performing arts presentation, within a list of 11 community benefits.
- 79% of Canadians say they would miss it if there were no live, professional performing arts available in their community (21% to a moderate extent and 58% to a high extent).
- The term “presenter” is little understood and rarely used in the public domain; furthermore, the public has little understanding of who is responsible for which tasks within the performing arts ecology and tends to be either focused on the performer or on the performing arts experience as a whole.
This survey along with all other primary and secondary research and consultations undertaken with the field over the past year will be consolidated in a single report of findings to be published in May 2012.