It is important for area theaters to know how many theatergoers will return once theaters reopen their doors. Theaters spend a great deal of money for each production. Not only do they have to pay for the rights of the shows, but for the many designers including lighting, sound, set, costume and tech designers and the directors, stage managers and actors. This doesn’t even include the box office, administration and other house costs. They need to anticipate ticket receipts. How likely are audiences going to return when theaters open their doors again?
A Shugoll Research Survey, based in Maryland, concluded that around 49 percent of theatergoers suggest they will probably wait at least a few months or more while only 25 percent think they will attend right away if there is something they want to see. Since most of the responders for this survey came from the greater Washington, D.C. area with a nod to Broadway, I’m hoping the numbers do not reflect Connecticut audiences. The only good news is that the most frequent theatergoers (those who attend more than six shows a year) are likely to attend immediately when doors reopen, although that was 41 percent. Because Connecticut is so rich with community-based theaters, and from my reader responses, I’m thinking we do have many frequent theatergoers. I’m also hoping audiences will return sooner than later.