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Theatre industry

Research guide

Published: 01 Apr 2019 Updated: 13 Jan 2021 Update History

Exclusive content
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Use our industry guide to find key background information, market research, import and export guidelines, statistics, legislation, trade bodies and trade publications.

The Business & Industry Guides series is produced by the Library & Information Service for ICAEW members and ACA students.

We can compile tailored key players reports, mailing lists, market reports, benchmarking reports and industry news. Our enquiry team can also research other industry-specific information, such as taxation, for you. Call us on +44 (0)20 7920 8620 or email library@icaew.com.

Trends and forecasts

Useful links

The arts after Brexit: the impact of the UK's departure from the EU on its cultural relations with EU members states
Study conducted by researchers at the University of Manchester, in conjunction with Tom Fleming Creative Consultancy, of the impacts of Brexit on the health, confidence, and sustainability of the UK arts and cultural sector. Provides a provisional assessment of the emotional, creative and financial impacts of Brexit and outlines how institutions have reacted to the referendum result and prepared themselves for the withdrawal of the UK from the EU.

Market research

Market research reports focusing on this business sector are available from a number of market research specialists. In most cases these reports are available to fee-paying subscribers or on a pay-as-you-go basis.

A full listing of reference products and research reports from Euromonitor, with a range of global, country and company level reports. Each report provides a contents listing and a useful executive summary reporting on the key trends in each country report.

Business and industry research specialists offering reports on a wide range of sectors. Report snapshots, table of contents and a sample report are available. The company also produces global industry research reports.

Report from Mintel covering the UK performing arts.

Industry news

The Library can carry out industry news searches for ICAEW members and ACA students.

Statistics on the UK

Society of London Theatre

A box office data report is produced annually by the Society of London Theatre. Includes data on audience attendance, gross revenue, average ticket price and number of performances across its member venues.

UK Theatre

UK Theatre publishes an annual sales data report based on information collected from its member venues. Data includes number of productions, number of performances, tickets sold, box office income, capacity achieved and average ticket price asked and achieved. Figures are broken down by venue type.

Theatres Trust

The Theatres Trust provides information on the number of theatres in the UK.

Office for National Statistics

The Annual Business Survey (ABS) from the Office for National Statistics collects financial information covering UK production, construction, distribution and service industries. Statistics available include:

  • number of enterprises;
  • total turnover;
  • approximate gross value added at basic prices;
  • total purchases of goods, materials and services;
  • total employment costs;
  • total net capital expenditure;
  • total net capital expenditure – acquisitions;
  • total net capital expenditure – disposals;
  • total stocks and work in progress – value at end of year;
  • total stocks and work in progress – value at beginning of year;
  • total stocks and work in progress – increase during year.

The dataset Non-financial business economy, UK: Sections A to S includes statistics for:

  • Performing arts (90.01)
    See Section R: Arts, entertainment and recreation
  • Support activities to performing arts (90.02)
    See Section R: Arts, entertainment and recreation

HM Revenue & Customs

GOV.UK publishes annual statistics from HM Revenue and Customs on the creative industries. Covers the take-up of the creative industries' tax reliefs including theatre tax relief.

Statistics on the Americas

Broadway League

The Broadway League publishes statistics for Broadway in NYC for the past five seasons including grosses, attendance, playing weeks, play/musical breakdowns and average paid admission. Figures are also available for Touring Broadway.



The Office for National Statistics publication Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) includes average employment costs within this sector which can be found in Table 14. Average employment costs are provided for full-time employees, part-time employees and all employees.

The data includes average employment costs for:

  • authors, writers
  • actors, entertainers
  • dancers and choreographers
  • musicians
  • arts officers, producers and directors.

The annual Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES), published by the Office for National Statistics, includes total employee and employment estimates for different industries for Great Britain and the UK. Figures are broken down to show full-time/part-time and public/private splits. The dataset Industry – Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES): Table 2 includes statistics for:

  • Performing arts (90010)
  • Support activities to performing arts (90020)

Skills for theatre: Developing the pipeline of talent
Report published by UK Parliament in May 2017 as part of the Communications Committee's inquiry into skills for the theatre industry. Investigates the barriers young people face in entering the theatre industry and the impact on the sector's future success.

Other regions

Please see individual country profile pages for links to sources of national statistics.


Corporation Tax: creative industry tax reliefs
Guidance published by GOV.UK on how to qualify and claim for Corporation Tax creative industry tax reliefs including Theatre Tax Relief.

Touring guide
Information and research from Arts Council England for arts and cultural organisations offering practical step-by-step guidance, case studies and country-focused details to help navigate the post-Brexit touring landscape.

Touring Europe - checklists for the arts, cultural, creative and heritage sectors
Guidance from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport on steps to take when planning a tour of Europe. Includes checklists for musicians and the visual and performing arts sectors.

Impact of Brexit on the media, sport and entertainment industries
Article from law firm DLA Piper on what Brexit and the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) means for the media, sport and entertainment industries. Issues are specifically explored in relation to broadcasting, territorial licensing, state aid and competition, entertainment industry and immigration, copyright and trade marks, sport, advertising and content and data.

The arts, culture and heritage sectors and the EU
Guidance from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport for the arts, culture and heritage sectors on working with the EU. Areas covered include employees, data, visiting Europe, services, movement of goods, EU funding, recruiting from outside the UK and the Global Talent visa.

UK business guides

Theatres Trust

The Theatres Trust provides resources and advice for UK theatres on areas including grants and funding.

UK Theatre

UK Theatre published the report Theatre touring in the 21st century - an exploration of new financial models in 2015. Explores current funding models for touring theatre, international models and potential options for the future. The appendices include a useful summary of funding models and two case studies

UK key players, ratios and trends

A range of reports on this sector are available to ICAEW members and ACA students via the Library.

UK benchmarking

The Library can supply benchmarking reports to ICAEW members and ACA students.


Theatres directory
Database maintained by the Theatres Trust containing information on almost 4,000 theatre buildings. Includes historic records and buildings still in use as theatres.

Trade bodies

Trade journals and publications

Trade journals, B2B magazines and specialist consumer magazines are another useful source of news and statistics.

Further reading

Articles and books in the Library collection

To find out how you can borrow books from the Library please see our guide to book loans.


You can obtain copies of articles or extracts of books and reports by post or email through our document supply service.


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