Theatre Night 2019: For Czechs theatre is primarily a social event
New research into the European theatre-going public has confirmed that for Czechs theatre is first and foremost a social affair. The main motivation for attending a theatre production is primarily a desire to spend time with family and friends. Interim results of the ASSET research project, which compares five European capitals, point to the strong tradition of theatre in the Czech Republic. The research also involves Theatre Night, which takes places on 16 November 2019, on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution. The largest theatre celebration in Europe will once again offer remarkable experiences, prepared each year especially for this occasion. The commemoration of the political changes in central and eastern Europe, which theatre played a significant role in catalysing in the Czech Republic, calls for a look back at the ideals and hopes of the 1990s. The coordinator of the event is the Arts and Theatre Institute.
Since last year, Theatre Night in the Czech Republic has been one of the partners of the international research project ASSET (Audience Segmentation System in European Theatres), supported by Creative Europe. The lead coordinator of this project dedicated to research on the theatre-going public is the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, which is carrying out the research in collaboration with the Arts and Theatre Institute and partners from five other European countries. In spring of this year, the first phase of data collection on the theatre-going public took place in five European cities. Theatres are currently evaluating the interim results in collaboration with analysts from The Audience Agency, based in London. A total of 7,575 valid responses were collected from 20 theatres in Prague, Zagreb, Vienna, Sofia and Helsinki, which together serve more than 1.8 million viewers per year. “From the Czech Republic the National Theatre, Studio TWO, Švanda Theatre and Jatka78 are taking part in the research. The Czech Republic is currently the participant with the highest rate of response (36%) and the highest percentage of ticket sales (61%),” says Michal Lázňovský, leader of the Department of Arts Management at the Dramatic Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (DAMU) and chief initiator of the ASSET project.
The research is focused on common socio-demographic details, such as the age and gender of spectators, but also on the behaviour and preferences of the European theatre-going public. Of the five researched capitols, the composition of the Prague theatre-going public is in line with the European averages in term of gender (74% women) and average age (43). Outliers in these categories are Finland, where up to 83% of the theatre-going public is comprised of women, and Austria, which has the youngest spectators, thanks to the choice of participating theatres. With the largest participation of spectators from regions outside of Prague, the Czech Republic is the clear leader when it comes to travelling to the capital for theatre. “When choosing a performance to attend, Czech, Finnish and Austrian spectators are most influenced by personal recommendations. An interesting feature of the Prague public is the minimal information they seek about the chosen title in advance, which correlates with the Czech public’s main motivation for attending a theatre performance: primarily to spend time with family and friends. In this respect, Czechs are similar to Austrians, who also consider going to the theatre a special event in the course of everyday life,” says project manager Martina Pecková Černá from the Arts and Theatre Institute. Czechs are also more likely to chose a performance based on its theme or cast, while the ticket price and creative team are less important to them. Some interim results were also surprising for other project partners: for example, the Sofia public goes to theatre primarily for intellectual stimulation and the most faithful viewers in Finland view theatre as art. The next phase of research into the theatre-going public will take place during Theatre Night and in the spring of 2020. The final research will be presented at a conference that will take place in Prague in autumn 2020 as the culmination of the ASSET project.
More information about the project is available at www.asset4arts.eu.