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Theatres rely heavily on ticket sales as funding dwindles

Organisations funded by the Arts Council England (ACE) have been increasingly relying on their own income via ticket sales, amid a period of declining public subsidy.

In its annual report with data gathered from the 630 National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs) across the UK, the ACE uncovered that 55 per cent of total revenue came from earned income, generating £889.6m. That was a 4.8 per cent rise from 2016-17.

For the 163 theatres listed, earned income from ticketing and other activity made up 65 per cent last year, which is the highest of any other arts discipline.

Theatres’ other income sources came from ACE investment, which accounted for 22 per cent, while 10 per cent came from sponsorship, trusts and foundations, and just two per cent from local authority grants.

Fifty-eight-per-cent of NPOs reported an increase in earned income, with the recent survey highlighting the trend of the arts becoming less reliant on public subsidy.

ACE funding fell slightly between 2016-17 and last year from 24 per cent of all income to 20 per cent in 2017-18.

The constant sample of 630 organisation that submitted data in both years saw overall local authority funding remain at 7 per cent.

The report also found theatre attendances increased by 10 per cent to 14 million people.

Image: David Joyce