Theatre Communications Group Releases
43rd Annual Research Report: Theatre Facts 2022

Report documents second year of the pandemic
Total ticket income rose 361% from 2021 into 2022; still 55% lower than 2018
Contributed income in 2022 hit a five-year high
Total expenses rose 60% from 2021 into 2022

New York, NY – Not-for-profit theatres contributed over $2.3 billion to the U.S. economy and attracted more than 10 million attendees, according to Theatre Facts 2022, released by Theatre Communications Group (TCG), in partnership with SMU DataArts. Based on TCG’s Fiscal Survey and SMU DataArts’ Cultural Data Profile (CDP), Theatre Facts is the only in-depth report that examines the attendance, performance, and overall fiscal state of the U.S. professional not-for-profit theatre field.

Theatre Facts 2022 reveals both the resilience and the incomplete recovery of our theatre ecology amid the second full year of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Karena Fiorenza, Interim Chief Executive Officer, TCG. “While some theatres are thriving, for many theatres, audiences have yet to return to pre-pandemic levels. The five-year high in contributed income could only cover so much of the difference as expenses continued to rise. Indeed, as our 2023 Compounding Crisis Snapshot Survey showed, rising material and labor costs are the primary challenges theatres are facing.”

Added LaTeshia Ellerson, Interim Chief Growth Officer of TCG: “To ensure our theatre ecology fully emerges from the ongoing pandemic, we’ll need to continue robust levels of contributed income from individuals, foundations, and at the federal and state levels. We’ll also need to amplify the many ways theatremakers have found to connect with their communities as theatres rebuild and grow their audiences.”

Theatre Facts 2022 reflects data from the fiscal year that theatres completed between October 1, 2021 and September 30, 2022. “These findings show that a full financial and operational recovery has not been swift nor is it guaranteed despite healthier levels of working capital among theatres in recent years. ” said Jen Benoit-Bryan, research director, SMU DataArts. “As theatres work towards sustainable and equitable operations for the future, we may see experimentation with new inflection points balancing the desire for increased earned revenue and attendance with the management of rising costs.” Following an Executive Summary, the report presents data in three ways:

      -The Universe: a broad overview of the over 2,000 U.S. professional not-for-profit theatres.

 T  -Trend Theatres: a longitudinal analysis of the 131 theatres that participated in either the TCG Fiscal Survey or CDP each year from 2018 to 2022.

      -Profiled Theatres: a detailed examination of all 174 theatres that completed a CDP/Fiscal Survey in 2022 with data broken out into six budget categories based on annual expenses.

Theatre Facts 2022 is available at:

Unless otherwise noted, all of the financial changes reported in this press release reflect average, inflation-adjusted figures for the Trend Theatres for the 5-year period from 2018 to 2022. Key findings include:

      -Total ticket income, encompassing both subscription and single ticket sales revenue, rose 361% in 2022 after a five-year low in 2021, but was still 55% lower than in 2018.

      -The median total attendance for 2022 increased by 81% from 2021, after accounting for outliers, but fell short of 2018’s attendance by 59%. The average number of subscribers increased by 12% between 2018 and 2022.

      -Total expenses rose by 60% from 2021 to 2022.

      -In 2022, contributed revenue hit a five-year high and earned revenue hit a five-year low.The two largest sources of contributed revenue as a percent of expenses were federal grants (24%) and foundation giving (15%). Government funding, when combined from all sources, covered 30% of expenses. Average single ticket and subscription income was 55% lower than in 2018.

      -Average federal funding ended the period more than 43 times greater than the 2018 level, with a 5-year low in 2019. State support was 120% higher in 2022 than in 2018. Government support to alleviate COVID-19 impacts can explain much of this growth.   .

      -Total compensation fell by 9% from 2018 to 2022 yet accounted for 4% more of theatres’ total expenses over the 5-year period.

      -Working capital was negative in each of the 5 years but at its best in 2022. In 2021 and 2022, less than 20% of theatres had negative working capital, compared to 44% in 2018..

For further information on the changes experienced by the field between 2018 and 2022, and on differences in income, attendance, and expenses between theatres of various sizes, see the Trend Theatres and Profiled Theatres sections of the full report at Theatre Facts 2022 is available at:

Theatre Communication Group’s Theatre Facts 2022 was written by Zannie Giraud Voss, professor and director of SMU DataArts at Southern Methodist University (SMU); Jen Benoit-Bryan, SMU DataArts research director; Daniel Fonner, associate director for research, SMU DataArts; Rebecca Roscoe, senior research associate, SMU DataArts; Corinna Schulenburg, director of communications & research, TCG; and Rachael Hip-Flores, communications & research associate, TCG.

SMU DataArts, the National Center for Arts Research, is a joint project of the Meadows School of the Arts and Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University. SMU DataArts compiles and analyzes data on arts organizations and their communities nationwide and develops reports on important issues in arts management and patronage. Its findings are available free of charge to arts leaders, funders, policymakers, researchers, and the general public. The vision of SMU DataArts is to build a national culture of data-driven decision-making for those who want to see the arts and culture sector thrive. Its mission is to empower arts and cultural leaders with high-quality data and evidence-based resources and insights that help them to overcome challenges and increase impact. To work toward these goals, SMU DataArts integrates data from its Cultural Data Profile, its partner TRG Arts, and other national and government sources such as Theatre Communications Group, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Census Bureau, and IRS 990s. Publications include white papers on emergence from the COVID-19 crisis, high-performing arts organizations of color,  protecting arts organizations through downturns, working capital and the resiliency of BIPOC organizations, the intersection of Funding, Marketing, and Audience DEI, and more. SMU DataArts also publishes reports on the health of the U.S. arts and cultural sector with the annual Arts Vibrancy Index, which highlights the 40 most arts-vibrant communities around the country. For more information, visit

Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for theatre, leads for a just and thriving theatre ecology. Since its founding in 1961, TCG’s constituency has grown from a handful of groundbreaking theatres to over 750 Member Theatres and affiliate organizations and over 3,000 Individual Members. Through its programs and services, TCG reaches over one million students, audience members, and theatre professionals each year. TCG offers networking and knowledge-building opportunities through research, communications, and events, including the annual TCG National Conference, one of the largest nationwide gatherings of theatre people; awards grants and scholarships to theatre companies and individual artists; advocates on the federal level; and through the Global Theater Initiative, TCG's partnership with the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics, serves as the U.S. Center of the International Theatre Institute. TCG is North America’s largest independent trade publisher of dramatic literature, with 20 Pulitzer Prizes for Drama on the TCG booklist. It also publishes the award-winning American Theatre magazine and ARTSEARCH®, the essential source for a career in the arts. TCG believes its vision of “a better world for theatre, and a better world because of theatre” can be achieved through individual and collective action, adaptive and responsive leadership, and equitable representation in all areas of practice. TCG is led by Interim Chief Growth Officer LaTeshia Ellerson and Interim Chief ExecutiveOfficer Karena Fiorenza.



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