New research on influence of subsidised theatre on commercial sector
Creative & Cultural Skills, Arts Council England and Nesta have jointly launched a new independent survey to research the influence of the subsidised theatre on commercial theatre.
Launched yesterday, the survey will track the development of the careers of a number of theatre professionals currently or formerly working in theatre. Consultancy companies TBR and BOP Consulting, who devised the survey, will also be interviewing theatre practitioners.
The questions that the research seeks to answer are:
- Does public subsidy enable individuals to engage with more innovative and riskier work?
- How do individuals build skills, experience and contacts in the theatre sector?
- How do practitioners move between different media (theatre, film, TV, advertising)?
- How and why do individual practitioners choose particular projects and roles over others?
- What are the influences on these choices and do these vary at different stages of their careers?
Director of research at Creative & Cultural Skills James Evans said, "Many theatre productions start as publicly-funded ventures before growing into large commercial projects, crossing over into film, television and other mediums. Individual practitioners with specific skills, experience and working practices are critical to this process. We hope this study will contribute to an increased understanding of the impact of different types of funding on the movement and working patterns of people working in the theatre industry, the performance of the sector and the potential impact on the broader economy."
ACE's director of strategic partnerships Richard Russell rather controversially describes the arts as "the R&D division of the creative industries, which are the fastest-growing sector of our economy".
However Nesta's director of creative industries Hasan Bakhshi clarifies: "We sometimes take for granted that public investment in the subsidised arts has ‘spillover’ benefits on the commercial creative industries. Such arguments are usually supported by anecdote, not rigorously evidenced, and the precise mechanisms through which these benefits occur are poorly understood. By surveying the experiences of a wide group of individuals with different career histories in theatre, this research should provide unique insights into the contributions that public funding makes in one of the UK’s strongest creative sectors."
The survey can be found at creative‐blueprint.co.uk/theatre‐survey. The results will be published in the summer.