National Endowment for the Arts Announces Report
Washington, D.C. -- Nonprofit theaters in the United States have seen unprecedented expansion across the United States, according to new research from the National Endowment for the Arts. All America's a Stage examines developments in the growth, distribution, and finances of America's nonprofit theater system since 1990. While the research indicates broad growth and generally positive fiscal health, it also reveals decreasing attendance rates and vulnerability during economic downturns.
"America has created a magnificent national network of nonprofit theaters," said NEA Chairman Dana Gioia. "Our challenge now is to use them ambitiously to bring the power of theater to our citizens, students, and communities."
Nearly 2,000 nonprofit theaters were analyzed for the study, which draws from several data sources such as the Internal Revenue Service, Theater Communications Group member survey data, the U.S. Census Bureau's Economic Census Data, and data from the NEA's Survey of Public Participation in the Arts. The investigation revealed that NEA funding is a likely catalyst in drawing sizeable contributions from other sources. Each dollar in NEA grant support is associated with an additional $12 from individual donors, $1.88 from businesses, and $3.55 from foundations. Among the key findings:
Broad and rapid expansion across the country
Theater finances – generally good news
Flat or shrinking attendance rates
Copies of the All America's a Stage brochure can be ordered or downloaded in PDF.
NEA theater initiatives
The NEA plays a leadership role in promoting theater across the country. NEA direct grants support a range of theater projects, from education outreach for youth, to more than 100 new theatrical premieres each year. NEA National Initiatives also increase access to high quality theater. Launched in 2003, Shakespeare in American Communities has become the largest tour of Shakespeare in American history. Through the American Masterpieces initiative, 13 theater companies in 18 states are reviving and touring significant American musicals. Since 2004, NEA Arts Journalism Institutes have offered more than 250 journalists from all 50 states professional training programs on dance, theater, classical music, and opera. The NEA/TCG Career Development Program for Directors and Designers is a partnership with Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national service organization for American theater. Since 1996, the program has provided mentorship to more than 130 early-career theater professionals. Most recently, the NEA launched the NEA New Play Development Program. Administered by Arena Stage, the program seeks to help the nation's nonprofit theaters bring more new plays to full production and raise interest in new plays among the general public.
NEA research resources
Since 1976, the NEA Office of Research & Analysis has issues periodic research reports, brochures, and notes on significant topics affecting artists and arts organizations. The NEA has issued several reports on theater employment trends, audience attendance patterns, and the relationship between commercial and nonprofit theater. All America's a Stage, along with other NEA research, is available for download at http://www.nea.gov/research/.
About the National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts, both new and established; bringing the arts to all Americans; and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Arts Endowment is the largest annual national funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases.
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National Endowment for the Arts · an independent federal agency
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