AMERICAN THEATRE | Research Finds COVID Issues Nonetheless Deterring D.C. Audiences

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: TheatreWashington and Limelight Insights by Shugoll have launched the findings of a latest on-line survey aimed toward assessing D.C.-area theatregoers’ opinions and attitudes towards COVID-19 security insurance policies. The pattern among the many 2,755 responses from survey members, representing theatregoers each pre-pandemic and since theatres started to reopen within the fall of 2021, is evident: Theatre attendance is down general, and it’s pushed by continued considerations about COVID-19.

Respondents consisted of subscribers and single ticket consumers at 10 D.C.-area theatres who beforehand attended the theatre not less than twice a 12 months previous to the COVID-19 pandemic. The typical variety of reveals attended dropped from 7.38 pre-COVID to 4.80 after reopening. Whereas 58 % of respondents beforehand attended the theatre six or extra occasions, solely 31 % did so after reopening. Virtually half (46 %) of respondents have attended the theatre simply 3 times or much less since reopening. Amongst this pattern of multi-time theatre attenders previous to the pandemic, theatres noticed an estimated 25 % decline in subscribers after reopening (although subscribers are usually extra doubtless to reply to one of these survey than non-subscribers).

When it comes to age group, theatres noticed the most important decline in attendance of older viewers members, particularly patrons 65 years previous and up. Previous to the pandemic, these patrons visited theatres considerably extra typically than youthful attendees, however have since had the bottom attendance of any age group.

The survey discovered that the principle cause why some patrons had not returned to theatres since reopening was their concern over turning into ailing from COVID publicity. A full 68 % of patrons said that they take into account the potential of contracting COVID-19 to be an important cause for not attending theatres; 17 % of respondents mentioned they haven’t attended as a result of they don’t wish to put on masks on the theatre, 14 % said that programming has not them, and 11 % mentioned they don’t wish to have to point out proof of vaccination. Different causes for not attending included those that cited the necessity for advance planning for a visit to the theatre (8 %), those that reported that they’ve discovered different sorts of leisure in the course of the pandemic that they get pleasure from (7 %), those that said that they don’t miss attending the theatre (5 %), those that said they can’t afford to go to the theatre (3 %), and those that reportedly realized how a lot cash they save when they don’t purchase theatre tickets (2 %.)

Masking guidelines have been one other figuring out issue for attendance: 48 % of viewers members had a desire for obligatory mask-wearing all over the place in theatre venues, whereas 31 % most well-liked masks to be non-obligatory all over the place, and 17 % said that they want masks to be required contained in the efficiency areas however not within the foyer or different areas of the theatre. Amongst present attendees (those that have been to the theatre since fall of 2021), 12 % would attend extra typically if masks necessities ended, whereas 41 % mentioned they’d attend not less than considerably much less typically; 43 % mentioned that they’d attend as incessantly as they at the moment do, and seven % would cease attending the theatre fully if masks weren’t required. Those that haven’t but attended since reopening tended to be essentially the most cautious about masks given the continuing presence of COVID-19.

“We’ve been monitoring the attitudes and opinions of D.C.-area theatregoers via analysis and surveys since early within the pandemic, and this survey represents one other knowledge set,” mentioned Mark Shugoll, senior advisor of Limelight Insights by Shugoll, in an announcement. “At this specific cut-off date, it’s clear to me that as theatregoers return, they’re nonetheless cautious about COVID-19 security and would favor obligatory mask-wearing when inside.” A previous survey from March discovered that respondents had comparable considerations about COVID-19 security in D.C.-area theatres.

“The outcomes of this survey have been shared with our accomplice organizations as they proceed to
make difficult choices about COVID-19 security insurance policies of their theatres,” mentioned Amy Austin,
president & CEO of TheatreWashington, in an announcement. “It’s no secret that D.C.-area theatres have struggled to rebound since reopening their doorways in fall 2021, and face some very troublesome decision-making forward. I really feel assured that theatre management has the most effective curiosity of their audiences, artists,
employees, and volunteers on the core of their coverage choices, and TheatreWashington will proceed to help them via this era. In step with steerage from the CDC, TheatreWashington extremely encourages the usage of masks inside indoor theatre areas.”

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