Royal & Derngate is one of 13 theatres included in this study by David Brownlee comparing the impact and activities of regional producing theatre across two years: 12/13 and 17/18.
The operating conditions for England’s major producing theatres in the last five years have been extremely challenging, even before Covid. Arts Council England received major cuts to its grant, while local government funding for the arts has reduced disproportionately to overall funding.
Grant funding has always been secondary to the importance of earned income from ticket sales. Royal & Derngate earns nearly 90% of its income through ticket sales and bar revenue. For a decade wages have not grown in line with inflation, putting pressure on households’ discretionary spend on leisure activities. This gloomy picture would suggest a period of retrenchment and decline for major regional arts organisations.
Analysis of the data supplied by 13 of England’s major producing theatres demonstrated that as a sector this was not the case. Collectively there is an impressive story of growth both in revenue and in cultural, economic, social and educational impact.