The impact of COVID-19 on Québec’s performing arts organizations: multiple strategies and initiative
Québec, May 29, 2023. – Almost 90% of performing arts organizations in Québec managed to continue their creative, production or performance activities during the pandemic. This context provided them with an opportunity to develop new practices and to take on new spaces and new ways to showcase their performances, whether online or outside the usual venues. This was revealed in the publication Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Companies and Organizations in the Québec Performing Arts Sector produced by the Observatoire de la culture et des communications of the Institut de la Statistique du Québec.
The pandemic context prompted 54% of organizations to conduct activities outside performance halls (extramural), in locations such as natural spaces, streets, parking lots, or public places. One third of these organizations already offered activities in such spaces before the pandemic.
More than two thirds of organizations (68%) recorded shows during the pandemic, and 46% of them intend to maintain this practice in the future. These recordings were essentially done for promotional (80%), archiving (64%), or live or pre-recorded broadcast purposes (58%).
Among performing arts organizations, 68% carried out activities online for the first time during the pandemic. Of these:
- 84% believe that these activities allowed them to stay in touch with customers.
- 63% consider that they helped them reach new audiences.
- Only 20% plan to keep offering hybrid shows or activities (in venues and online) permanently after the pandemic.
Special grants have been essential to maintain activities
To maintain jobs and continue their activities, 91% of performing arts organizations used special public grants, 36% conducted fundraising campaigns, and 34% took out loans.
Activities expected to return to pre-pandemic levels by 2024
Most organizations expect the performing arts sector to be back to pre-pandemic levels by spring 2024, particularly in terms of creative cycles (56%) and business partnerships (51%). However, a non-negligible proportion of organizations believe that it will take more than two years to return to normal attendance levels (23%), to previous subscription rates (27%), to pre-pandemic independent revenue levels (29%), and to resume out-of-province tours (32%).
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