Advance sales down by 90% - says survey

Advance ticket sales and income at arts venues nationwide has dropped by 92% in the wake of the coronavirus, according to a new survey.

An analysis by arts management consultancy TRG Arts and arts data specialist Purple Seven shows a catastrophic drop in advance sales on March 17, 2020, compared to the equivalent day last year. The figures come from Purple Seven’s daily feed from 196 venues including West End and regional venues and small studio theatres to major presenting houses (image shows London's West End).

TRG chief executive Jill Robinson said: “On the day after the government imposed shutdown, leaders of theatres and concert halls were focusing on managing a phenomenal onslaught of requests for refunds. This in itself will have a huge impact on cashflow, but it will be multiplied if advance bookings dwindle”.

She added: “To safeguard the UK’s world-renowned cultural sector, the government needs to ensure the sector has grants to deal with the immediate crisis. At the same time arts lovers need to show support for their local venues not only by making donations but also by purchasing advance tickets”.

Meanwhile the Arts Council of Wales has postponed until 2021 its five yearly investment review, which decides which organisations will be funded.

With many organisations involved in an immediate fight for survival, an investment review would be an unhelpful distraction for you and for us” said the ACW, which also announced that it was lifting funding conditions for organisations in its portfolio for at least three months.

The ACW warned that theatre companies and venues face “multimillion-pound losses” because of cancelled projects, and is appealing to the Welsh government for extra funding to mitigate the losses.

The scale of the problem is beyond our financial resources alone, so we’re urgently exploring with the Welsh government what financial support might be available to mitigate the effects of closures, cancellations and loss of income.”


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