A brief portrait of post-pandemic show presenters

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Small portrait of show-presenters post-pandemic

Éric Myre The broadcasters who responded to the study try everything: 84% of them presented at least one storytelling show, and 80% a dance show, like comedy.

Multidisciplinary theaters have not quite recovered from the pandemic. These broadcasters presented about 20 fewer shows last year, on average, than before COVID-19. A pandemic that has also had a positive effect: its financial aid measures have enabled more artistic risk-taking. Still, these broadcasters predict a deficit of 9% for 2022-2023. A short portrait of the last link in the artistic chain, the one who forges the link with the spectators.

This is an AppEco survey unveiled at the beginning of the year, made at the request of the Association professional of RIDEAU performance presenters, who draws the features of this portrait.

This Study on the industrial organization, public support and economic impact of multidisciplinary presenters in Quebec surveyed the 157 members of the association: 64 of them responded, or 41%, with data relating to on 209 shows.

What is striking? These multidisciplinary broadcasters have faces, theaters and very different needs from each other. There is as much a small theater in the Îles-de-la-Madeleine as the large halls of Place des Arts in Montreal; non-profit organizations, and others inserted into a municipal structure, as explained by the director general of RIDEAU, Julie-Anne Richard.

These differences can also be seen in the shows presented, their impact, their costs, their receptions. This is often the big gap in the data. An example ? The 209 shows that the respondents presented to the study attracted an average of 666 spectators. The maximum for a show (which may be over several performances) was 16,857 spectators. And the minimum, on the other hand, of 15 spectators.

We also learn that in 2021-2022, 65 shows were presented on average compared to 84 in 2019-2020, before the pandemic. Broadcasters predict a return to normal for next year. Fewer shows means less income for artists, artisans and stage technicians.

Artistic risks and safe havens

“What the pandemic has demonstrated in an exemplary way, analyzes Julie-Anne Richard, is that broadcasters are able to vitalize the entire arts chain. Over 70% of the money that goes through broadcasters goes down this channel.

“However, dissemination is the link that has been neglected. You have to be consistent, and also value this last link, which makes the link with the spectators, the public. Of the shows named in the survey, “more than half are music and song shows (53%), followed by theater (22%). More than 80% of the shows are aimed at the general public, and 150 are given by a well-known or well-established artist,” it reads.

But these broadcasters try everything: 84% of them have presented at least one storytelling show, and 80% at least one dance show, as well as comedy. “I'm quite happy, slips Ms. Richard, because we see that with the ticketing assistance introduced during COVID, broadcasters have chosen to be bold. It was less worrying for them to take an artistic risk by having this boost. »

In the analysis of revenues for the entire industry, we see that in 2019-2020, before and at the start of the pandemic, own-source revenues constituted 66% of revenues, and public financial assistance, 31%. The following year, reversal: own-source revenue is at 31%, public assistance at 67%.

“While we could have seen on the scenes a retreat towards safe havens, the opposite happened. What it says, believes Ms. Richard, is that a presenter who is better supported, with whom the pressure of ticket sales is reduced, will take more risks, turn more to the next generation and try niche shows. . »

We therefore understand when RIDEAU says it is reassured by the extension of the ticketing measure announced this week with the budget. “There seems to be money for a three-year transition. We can't wait to see how this will evolve.

The association, however, regrets not seeing in the budget “a permanent increase in the budgets of the CALQ to increase our operations. For us, that creates concern for the workforce and for all the inflationary challenges.”

Because finding and keeping cultural workers is one of the current challenges. Julie-Anne Richard sighs. “You have to get people interested in culture, value the whole sector. And pay them well. Because within the cultural sector itself, there are other sectors that are more interesting for a worker than the performing arts. We really are the poor parents. »

Make the works last

“I believe that, if you want to develop as an attractive employment pole, it means taking care of your workforce. Currently, everyone is overwhelmed with work. And the salaries there are not competitive. The survey reveals that production (GDP) and employment levels remain caught in the near past, comparable to early 2015. The fiscal outlook predicts a projected operating deficit of 9% for 2022-23.< /p>

The three main reasons, according to the study, that darken the future of multidisciplinary theaters are the limited revenue business model, insufficient government support and a dilution of the economic benefits of the arts. from the stage to other sectors of activity. Broadcasters are therefore hoping for an increase in their funding, both direct and indirect, to improve efficiency and management.

“Typically, broadcasters have a margin of maneuver of around 30% of shows to cover their costs and make a profit, including financial assistance,” it read. And it is the broadcasters, recalls Julie-Anne Richard, who maximize the life of an artistic or cultural production, which is not unimportant, concludes the director of RIDEAU.