TCG Releases New Research: Coronavirus Preparedness and Impact Report

By Laurie Baskin posted 04-20-2020 21:04


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 20, 2020 | PRESS CONTACTS: Corinna Schulenburg | 

Theatre Communications Group Releases New Research:
Coronavirus Preparedness and Impact Report

New York, NY – Theatre Communications Group (TCG) has announced the release of their Coronavirus Preparedness and Impact Report, a 10-page report based on the results of a snapshot survey of TCG Member Theatres conducted in March. TCG will conduct further surveys to measure the pandemic’s impact as part of a five-point approach to holistically respond to this crisis. TCG’s efforts will help: stabilize theatres by advocating for and disseminating information about relief funds; organize them through virtual gatherings and online resource-sharing; communicate the urgent needs of theatres; innovate news ways of connecting with audiences; and transform the systemic challenges the theatre field faces to emerge stronger from this crisis. The full report can be found here

One hundred sixty-eights theatres completed TCG’s March 2020 Coronavirus Preparedness and Impact Survey. Key findings include: 

  • The majority of theatres had already made hard decisions to cancel performances and other activities. Eighty-eight percent of participants had cancelled performances that had already been scheduled to take place and/or were scheduled to take place in the coming weeks, 58% had already cancelled education programs, and 38% had already cancelled their annual gala.
  • Revenue losses will be substantial. Theatres are not only losing income from ticket sales but also from other revenue streams such as rentals and investment income, and their usual fundraising efforts are severely compromised. In respondents’ earliest projections, the lost revenue through June 2020 totals nearly $120 million. As stay-at-home orders have extended and expanded, the true lost revenue will no doubt prove to be much greater for those theatres and for the field as a whole. TCG estimates that for the larger universe of U.S. professional not-for-profit theatres (1,855 theatres per TCG’s Theatre Facts 2018), total revenue loss through June 2020 alone will exceed $500 million. 
  • Theatres need immediate and ongoing relief and support. With limited cash and no revenue, many theatres are fearful about the survival of their organizations. They need flexibility in the use of existing grants and significant additional support from the government, foundations, corporations, and individuals both for the short-term and beyond. Theatres are concerned about the pressure on the funding community, since every arena is being affected by the pandemic, and they worry about where the arts will fall in funding priorities. 

Read more key findings and the full report here

“The professional theatre field is meeting this existential crisis with characteristic courage and creativity,” said Teresa Eyring, executive director, TCG. “Yet as this research reveals, immediate and urgent relief and recovery funds are required to limit the damage to the hard-won growth of our resident theatre movement. At stake are not just the jobs lost, the productions cancelled, or the theatres shuttered. Theatres have played a vital role in revitalizing urban downtown centers and rural main streets alike. They convene communities across differences to share stories, strengthening our frayed social fabric. When the pandemic recedes, theatres and theatre artists will play a vital role in restoring our communal well-being, and they must be supported during these difficult days.”

“Theatres have been working hard to apply for Payroll Protection Program relief through the SBA as well as other forms of federal relief, but the severity of the crisis has outpaced the relief that is available,” said Laurie Baskin, director of research, policy, and collective action, TCG. “So, in addition to working to access relief and fundraise in their communities, theatre leaders are also contacting their elected officials in record numbers to tell their stories of COVID-19 impact.”

TCG joined a partnership of more than 40 national arts and culture organizations in sending as new slate of policy recommendations to Congress on Monday, April 21. The recommendations urge the federal government to do more to support the arts sector as funding is exhausted for programs created under the CARES Act.

In addition to research and arts advocacy, TCG is:

Theatre Communications Group (TCG) exists to strengthen, nurture, and promote professional theatre in the U.S. and globally. Since its founding in 1961, TCG’s constituency has grown from a handful of groundbreaking theatres to over 700 Member Theatres and affiliate organizations and nearly 10,000 Individual Members. Through its Core Values of Activism, Artistry, Diversity, and Global Citizenship, TCG advances a better world for theatre and a better world because of theatre. TCG offers its members 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, approximately $2 million per year, 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 17 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. In all of its endeavors, TCG seeks to increase the organizational efficiency of its Member Theatres, cultivate and celebrate the artistic talent and achievements of the field, and promote a larger public understanding of, and appreciation for, the theatre.