Does Theatre Even Matter? Understanding The Consumer Benefits of Theatre

We know, we know. As theatre lovers, it sounds crazy to ever question the value of the arts. But the world seems to be at a cultural crossroads, leaving the arts teetering on unsteady ground. So, we thought it might be time to put on our marketing hats to try to understand the true consumer benefits of theatre.

When it comes to Broadway, why should audiences buy tickets?

5 Consumer Benefits That Make Theatre Worth Fighting For

1. Theatre Is Good For The Economy

“The extent of economic impact of Broadway tours to a local metropolitan area is three times the dollar amount of gross ticket sales.” 

— 2016 Report for the League of American Theatres and Producers Inc.

Not-for-profit theatre alone employed 139,000 people in 2015. Combine that with the 87,000+ jobs on Broadway and the countless jobs in commercial theatres across the country, and you’ve got yourself quite a business. Speaking of business: in 2016, Broadway pulled in $1.37 billion dollars in ticket sales; seems like a telling measure of the strength of our economy.

If that’s not clear enough, take a lesson from history. During The Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt initiated a series of programs called the New Deal, including the Federal Theatre Project, which employed 15,000 people nationally.

2. Theatre Is Good For Mental Health

“Watching a play allows the audience to access emotions they often don’t.” 

 Dr. Glenn D. Wilson

Not only does theatre help fight the stigma of mental illness by displaying it on stage in shows like Next to Normal and Dear Evan Hansen, theatre additionally promotes mindfulness by inviting people to examine who they are through storytelling. In fact, many mental health professionals even use theatre and dramatic roleplaying to aid in clinical trauma recovery, including Syrian children refugees.

3. Art = Smart

“I believe arts education in music, theater, dance, and the visual arts is one of the most creative ways we have to find the gold that is buried just beneath the surface.” 

Richard W. Riley, Former US Secretary of Education

Math and science usually take all the credit for cultivating brilliant minds. But the artistry found in theatre has been proven to develop creativity and the critical thinking skills that expand and enrich our children: AKA the leaders of our nation’s future.

4. Theatre Brings Us Together And Evokes Change

“Art matters because it is a hate-killer. Art matters because it is the one true great connector in a world that seems to be very unconnected, and it’s important now more than ever to shine a huge light on that connectivity that we have, that we often forget.”

Josh Groban

Theatre acts as a mirror to the society it represents: this means advocacy often finds its voice on the stage. When audiences see their own stories–or someone else’s story–in a play or musical, they will embrace new understanding and feel empowered to leave the theatre and make change.

5. Theatre Is Awesome!

“I think there is no world without theatre.” 

— Edward Bond

Who even wants to live in a world without theatre? It’d be like a garden without flowers. Theatre brings joy to the world when it is grieving and inspires healing when the world is hurting. The #1 reason that people keep buying Broadway tickets is by far how theatre makes you feel. With record attendance this past season, it seems that the world agrees.