The Insights Alliance has found that frequent theatre and cultural events attendees have not yet fully returned following the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The Insights Alliance is a partnership between consultancy Indigo, software and consultancy provider Baker Richards and analytics business One Further.

The Missing Audiences report found that less than one in three respondents did not have a future booking, with Covid safety concerns being one of the major factors holding them back. Around 61% of those asked said they were trying to avoid interacting with crowds, and 23% said that they were waiting until they could attend as normal, without precautions. 

Around 74% of the missing audience members expected to attend less often over the next 12 months, while 47% that have returned to cultural experiences also expected to attend events less than before. 

Respondents to the survey, with data correlated over six weeks in September and October, also said they wouldn’t be attending events because they were worried that other attendees would not take precautions – like wearing a mask and washing hands – seriously. 

There were 10,834 responses to the surveys sent to previous bookers or visitors that had not returned to the organisations sending out the survey. 

However, those that have returned to cultural events have also engaged with online content instead of shows and experiences. Almost half of the respondents had taken advantage of the online content and paid for it, while a further 23% had streamed or interacted with content for free. 

Katy Raines, founder and chief executive of Indigo, said: “The Missing Audiences Research clearly shows that a significant proportion of our previously core audiences are now attending much less frequently than they were before – or not at all – with many waiting for the Covid risk to be lower before considering booking a ticket. 

“Whilst Covid safety reassurance remains important, the stark reality is a vital imperative to reimagine the relationship we have with cultural audiences. The only way to rebuild our audience numbers will be with a real focus on audience development, creating new audiences with work which is relevant to them and delivered in a way which feels appropriate. 

“Now, more than ever, we need to work together, developing innovative creative work and new funding models to support the sector’s recovery.”

Image: Manos Gkikas on Unsplash