Confidence growing but not for all

Writer:

Paul Genty

18 Jun 2021

Social distancing could be around for some time

Theatre audience confidence is gradually returning to UK theatre – thanks to the strict measures being operated throughout the industry, says a new survey.

Theatregoers are going back to theatres - but want procedures such as social distancing and the wearing of masks to continue for the foreseeable future, says the Insights Alliance, which has been surveying audience behaviour and attitude through the pandemic.

The research reveals higher levels of confidence among older theatre fans after visiting. During 2020 the survey showed much poorer results than were seen after several theatres reopened in May.

Respondents to the latest survey still displayed major hesitancy towards full capacities – confidence dropping alarmingly about returning once social distancing is no longer demanded.

A third of the almost 60,000 respondents to the latest survey said social distancing was essential to their return, with only five per cent opposed.

The survey suggests the percentage of people who consider masks essential to their return is such that theatres risk losing potential audience members if they drop the mask requirement. A small percentage also wanted the use of a vaccine passport, while slightly more thought temperature testing should remain.

The survey team believes theatres should continue to organise some socially-distanced performances, even after the need for restrictions has been removed – so those still hesitant to book tickets can opt for the distanced performance.