Arts & Culture

Cinema drawing in adults faster than theatre in post-pandemic environment

Featured image credit: Krists Luhaers on Unsplash

New analysis of data recently published by the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has shown that patrons are returning much faster to cinemas and exhibitions than live music shows and theatre productions. 

However, the data shows a positive trajectory in post-pandemic arts attendance by English adults.

The analysis was undertaken and published by Data Culture Change in partnership with the newly relaunched charitable organisation, Campaign for the Arts.

Analysis covers nine art-forms in the DCMS Participation survey, which is the replacement for the Taking Part survey. Less popular art-forms such as craft exhibitions, live dance and street arts appear to be reviving slowly compared to events connected with books and writing.

David Brownlee, Data Culture Change chief executive, said: “After 15 years of collecting audience data in a way that could be directly compared, it is frustrating that we cannot robustly compare engagement pre and post the pandemic due to changes to content and methodology in the new survey.

“It is very positive that DCMS is committed to the regular and swift publication of quarterly data, so we should soon know if the ‘revival’ in audiences returning has speeded up or slowed down between July and September 2022.”

Campaign for the Arts director Jack Gamble added: “We all know that the pandemic had a big impact on people’s ability to organise and engage with arts events, but this report shows just how considerable that impact was, and that the ripples are still being felt.

“It’s encouraging to see a trend towards increased participation overall, but it’s a much slower recovery for some art-forms, and especially in light of the energy and cost-of-living crisis, we need to ensure that the trend towards recovery can continue.”