GOING UP, GOING DOWN How attendance of the Arts has changed

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The Independent Culture
The figures for the numbers of adults attending arts events show that the arts are recovering from the impact of the recession. All art forms showed improvement over the previous year.

Long-term trends show opera and ballet maintaining growth, and contemporary dance recovering from an earlier decline.

The figures come from information collected for the Council each year by the British Market Research Bureau. They survey 25,000 adults in England, Scotland and Wales for what is called The Target Group Index.

The Arts Council sets considerable store by

these figures, using them often as general propaganda to show that the arts are as popular, if not more popular, than football, and using

them also in negotiations with the Government for increased subsidy.

They provoke one glaring question, though. Why should we have to make do with figures that are estimates, based on only 25,000 of the population, when there is a far more scientific method readily available: namely that the Council collates information from the box-offices of all the institutions it funds.

Figures are calculated as percentage deviations from attendance levels for the year 1986/87, which is taken as 100 per cent attendance