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League Releases New Audience Survey for Tours

The League of American Theatres and Producers has released an initial biennial analysis, "The Audience for Touring Broadway: A Demographic Study."

The comprehensive study offers a detailed profile of those who attend touring productions of Broadway shows.

One of the key findings has to do with young theatregoers. According to a prepared statement, the league reported that attendance by theatregoers under the age of 18 has quadrupled, from 163,000 in 1991 to 714,000 in 1998.

The league works closely with the Theatre Development Fund on such projects as "Kids' Night on Broadway," an annual program that introduces young people to the theatre in 30 cities.

The new study completes a highly positive picture of young theatre audiences nationwide, including New York theatre.

In October 1998, Back Stage reported on an earlier survey, "The Audience for New York Theatre: A Profile of the Broadway and Off-Broadway 1997 Theatre Season." That study covered both for-profit and not-for-profit shows, and indicated that the allegedly "lost audience"‹meaning people under 25‹may not be lost at all.

The league's president, Jed Bernstein, credited industry programs with lifting the attendance figures for young theatregoers and described the new survey as "the first comprehensive snapshot of the national theatregoer."

Touring companies of Broadway shows play to 15 million people annually, the league said, with ticket sales accounting for "well over half of the industry's annual box-office gross of $1.3 billion in 1997-98."

The league's audience analysis of Broadway's touring productions also focuses on certain key insights to the theatergoer's demographic profile.

Most of those who attend touring productions of Broadway shows are female, over 35, Caucasian, well educated and affluent, with average household incomes of $80,400.

Touring production audiences typically live between 10 and 50 miles from the theatre and attend six shows per year.

In addition, they usually attend a New York City show at least once a year.

The league indicated that its research department had worked from the fall of 1997 through the fall of 1998 with administrators from 51 theatres in North America, in order to survey touring-production audiences for its report.

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