Survey of 3,662 Toronto audience members released today

The results of Creative Trust’s Audience Engagement Survey – a first-time, collaborative initiative by Toronto’s creative performing arts companies – were released today and are available on our website.

The survey made it possible for 20 participating companies to hear directly from their audiences on what motivates them to attend and what helps them connect more deeply with the work they see on stage. The initiative brought music, theatre, opera and dance companies together to learn how to design and plan programs and activities – both individually and collectively – which intensify the impact of their audiences’ experience and stimulate attendance.

The Audience Engagement Survey, developed as part of Creative Trust’s Audiences Project, was undertaken by Lead Consultant Alan Brown of WolfBrown Consulting and Research Associate Kelly Hill of Hill Strategies Research. It provides an in-depth picture of performing arts audiences in Toronto with a special focus on their engagement preferences.

In addition to general demographic information, the survey asked questions relating to attendance at participating companies’ events; companions they attended events with; motivations for attending; and preferred activities before, at/during, and after performances.

Results pointed to a healthy overlap in attendance at a variety of performances (on average, respondents attended programs of 3.5 of the participating organizations in the past 2 years); reinforced the importance of early participation in the arts on future attendance; emphasized that audiences are becoming increasingly interested in hearing more, primarily through the web, about the artists, development process, and artistic impulse behind performances they attend; and, busting through walls separating “high” and “low” culture, revealed that 50% of dance audiences enjoyed watching dance competitions on TV! Not a big surprise to us So You Think You Can Dance Canada enthusiasts.

The results are being used by the participants to craft new programs and activities to involve their audiences more closely with their companies – secure in the knowledge that people who go out to creative music, theatre, opera and dance performances in Toronto do so because they find them deeply enjoyable, beautiful, pleasurable, stimulating, challenging and inspiring.

Jini Stolk

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