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4102.0 - Australian Social Trends, 1995  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/06/1995   
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Contents >> Culture and Leisure >> Special Feature: Music and performing arts

Special Feature: Music and performing arts

In 1990-91, popular music concerts attracted the largest and youngest audiences of all music and performing arts activities.

Music and performing arts are an important feature of the cultural life of Australians. They provide a source of entertainment, a source of employment and a creative outlet for many professional and amateur musicians, actors, dancers, singers, directors, designers etc.

Music and performing arts

The ABS, through its National Culture and Recreation Statistics Unit, has conducted five surveys in the music and performing arts sector of the National Culture-Leisure Industry Statistical Framework, 4th edition, 1991. Each relate to a different aspect of the sector. One covered patrons who attended various performances of music and performing arts, three covered establishments (music and performing arts organisations, and major venues in capital cities) responsible for music and performing arts products, and one covered a specific product (major musical theatre productions).

A music and performing arts organisation is a limited company, a partnership, a sole proprietor, a cooperative, a group of people incorporated or unincorporated or an organisation created under an act of parliament formed and operated for the purpose of performing musical, theatrical or dance works. Organisations which are primarily service providers, such as promoters or theatrical entrepreneurs, are excluded. Organisations are classified according to their predominant activity:
  • theatre includes drama, classical, comedy, puppet, mime, youth and community theatre, and theatre-in-education companies;
  • dance includes ballet, classical, contemporary and modern dance, dance theatre, dance revue, ethnic and folk dance companies and dance-in-education companies, whether professional or amateur;
  • symphony orchestras, chamber and choral groups present oratorio, classical and contemporary classical music. They include theatre, philharmonic and youth orchestras, singers, vocal and instrumental ensembles;
  • opera and music theatre organisations present live performances of opera and music theatre including lyric opera, operetta and musical comedy.

A major venue is one where regular performances take place on a commercial basis, or, in the case of irregular performances, where the size of the venue suggests that attendances would be significant, e.g rock/pop concerts at outdoor venues such as sports stadiums.

A performance is a single session, show, gig or appearance by one performer, group of performers or a single collection of independent performers brought together for a specific production. Performances are classified similarly to organisations, i.e theatre, dance, opera and music theatre, classical music concerts which are defined as those performed by symphony orchestras, chamber and choral groups, and popular music concerts which include rock, jazz, pop, folk, country and western, ethnic and multicultural music.


Patrons
In 1990-91, more people attended popular music concerts than any other type of performance. 29% of people aged 18 and over (3.5 million) attended a popular music concert at least once in the year. One-fifth of these attended five or more concerts in the year. In addition, 20% went to musical theatre performances, 18% went to theatre performances, 11% went to dance performances, and 8% went to classical music concerts. People were most likely to attend these types of performances only once or twice a year. People living in capital cities were more likely than those living in rural areas to attend more than one performance.

Popular music concerts attracted the youngest audiences. Over half of all people aged 18-24 attended a popular music concert in 1990-91. No data are available on attendance by those aged under 18 but they would probably make up a large part of some popular music concert audiences.

People aged 65 and over were the least likely to attend all types of performances except classical music concerts which they attended in larger proportions than people under 35. A greater proportion of women than men attended all types of performances.

Attendance at performances of music and performing arts varied between the states, although in all states and territories a larger proportion of people attended popular music concerts than any other types of performances. The Australian Capital Territory had the highest proportion of people attending all types of performances except musical theatre. Almost twice the proportion of people in the Australian Capital Territory attended classical music concerts than in other states. The Northern Territory had the second highest proportions of people who attended popular music concerts, dance performances, and theatre performances, and the lowest proportion who attended musical theatre performances. These rates may be related to variables such as the availability and accessibility of performances and the low population base.

PROPORTION OF PEOPLE(a) ATTENDING SELECTED TYPES OF PERFORMANCES, 1990-91



(a) Aged 18 and over

Source: Survey of Attendance at Selected Cultural Venues

PROPORTION OF PEOPLE(a) ATTENDING SELECTED TYPES OF PERFORMANCES, 1990-91

Age group
Popular music concert
Musical theatre performance
Theatre performance
Dance performance
Classical music concert
(years)
%
%
%
%
%

18-24
53.6
19.0
17.8
11.8
5.8
25-34
35.0
17.5
20.1
11.4
6.2
35-44
27.6
22.0
21.2
13.6
10.2
45-54
22.2
25.6
18.0
11.6
10.2
55-64
15.7
21.0
14.4
10.0
9.3
65 & over
9.7
15.8
11.6
7.1
7.7
Total
28.6
20.1
17.8
11.2
8.2

(a) Aged 18 and over.

Source: Survey of Attendance at Selected Cultural Venues

PROPORTION OF PEOPLE(a) ATTENDING SELECTED TYPES OF PERFORMANCES, 1990-91

Popular music concert
Musical theatre performance
Theatre performance
Dance performance
Classical music concert
State
%
%
%
%
%

NSW
28.5
20.0
17.3
10.8
8.4
Vic.
27.5
21.3
17.4
11.1
7.7
Qld
29.3
20.2
17.1
11.0
6.9
SA
27.2
22.4
18.2
10.5
8.4
WA
28.9
16.6
19.6
11.5
8.5
Tas.
31.0
14.4
17.0
9.5
10.1
NT
36.9
13.7
21.4
18.4
9.0
ACT
37.4
21.1
27.6
21.6
17.0
Total
28.6
20.1
17.8
11.2
8.2

(a) Aged 18 and over.

Source: Survey of Attendance at Selected Cultural Venues


Organisations
In 1991, there were 459 music and performing arts organisations in Australia. 197 of these were predominantly theatre organisations, 172 were symphony orchestras, chamber and choral groups, 49 were dance organisations and 41 were opera and musical theatre organisations. Together these music and performing arts organisations gave over 32,000 performances which attracted 6.4 million patrons. In addition, there were 430 performances staged overseas by Australian-based organisations. These performances attracted 321,000 patrons.

In 1991, music and performing arts organisations received $81.4 million in subsidies from all levels of government and the Australia Council for the Arts. This accounted for 40% of their annual revenue. The most heavily subsidised organisations were symphony orchestras, chamber and choral groups. 61% of the annual revenue of these organisations came from government subsidies.

In 1991, music and performing arts organisations employed 15,998 people; 13,607 casual employees, 1,957 permanent full-time employees and 434 permanent part-time employees. Most employees of music and performing arts organisations were performing artists.

Music and performing arts organisations also have a large voluntary workforce. In 1993, the majority of all people working in these organisations were not paid for their involvement (see Culture-leisure workers).

MUSIC AND PERFORMING ARTS ORGANISATIONS(a), 1991

Organisations
Performances
Paid attendances
Government subsidies(b)
Type of organisation
no.
no.
'000
%

Theatre
197
24,613
3,453
32.4
Symphony orchestra, chamber and choral groups
172
2,736
1,220
60.7
Dance
49
3,739
1,108
35.2
Opera & music theatre(c)
41
941
585
27.3
Total
459
32,029
6,366
39.5

(a) Excludes popular music (e.g rock, jazz).
(b) Proportion of annual revenue.
(c) Excludes performances of/attendances at major musicals.

Source: Survey of Music and Performing Arts Organisations


Performances at major venues
In 1992, almost 22,000 music and performing arts performances were held in major venues in capital cities. 12.0 million patrons attended these performances. Sydney hosted the largest number of performances in major venues and Darwin held the least. However, Melbourne had the largest number of attendances. This is probably because major venues in Melbourne have a larger total seating capacity than major venues in Sydney.

Over half (58%) of all performances at major venues were theatre performances. However, popular music concerts had the highest number of attendances of any type of performance.

PERFORMANCES HELD IN MAJOR VENUES(a), 1992

Performances
Attendances
Type of performance
no.
'000

Popular music
1,520
3,639
Theatre
12,560
2,709
Symphony orchestras, chamber and choral groups
1,770
1,401
Dance
1,450
828
Opera and music theatre
2,840
2,522
Other performing arts
1,610
865
Total
21,750
11,965

(a) Excludes free performances.

Source: Survey of Major Venues Staging Music and Performing Arts Events in Capital Cities


Major musicals
Major musical theatre productions are musicals staged in a major venue in a capital city which have a run of at least two weeks. Some major musical theatre productions are staged by music and performing arts organisations while others are mounted by theatrical entrepreneurs and promoters. In 1991, 13 major musical productions were surveyed. These productions had 2,100 performances. 2.1 million people attended these performances.

In 1991, these major musical productions employed 1,305 people. These people were employed in various ways such as on weekly contracts for the whole or part of the year, on hourly contracts, or paid to perform a specific task regardless of the time involved. Most employees of major musical productions were performing artists.

PEOPLE EMPLOYED(a) IN MAJOR MUSICALS, 1991

Men
Women
Persons
People employed
no.
no.
no.

Artistic personnel
    Performing artists
432
310
742
    Other artistic/ support staff
66
36
102
Technical personnel
243
169
412
Other personnel
24
25
49
Total
765
540
1,305

(a) Refers to people employed on any basis during the year, e.g permanent, on contract for any period (weekly, hourly, task), casual or any other basis.

Source: Survey of Major Musical Theatre Productions



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