Theatre Night 2019: For Czechs theatre is a social event in the first place

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The current survey of the European theatre audiences has confirmed that for Czechs theatre is a social event in the first place. The main motivation for going to the theatre is the desire to spend time with the family and friends. The current results of the ASSET survey project, comparing five European cities, refer to the strong theatre tradition in the Czech Republic. 

One of the participating parties is the Theatre Night, which is going to take place on November 16, 2019, on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution. The biggest theatre holiday in Europe will once again offer unusual experiences, which are annually designed for this occasion. The reminder of political changes in Central and Eastern Europe, with theatre being one of the initiators in the Czech Republic, invites the audiences to look back on ideals and hopes in the 1990s. The coordinator of the event is the Arts and Theatre Institute.

The Theatre Night in the Czech Republic has been one of the partners of the international survey project ASSET (Audience Segmentation System in European Theatres), supported by Creative Europe. The main coordinator of the project focused on theatre audiences survey is the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, which performs it in cooperation with the Arts and Theatre Institute and partners with five other European countries. The first period of data collection from theatre audiences took place in spring this year in five European cities. Theatres are now evaluating the running results in cooperation with the main project methodologist – The Audience Agency from London. There were 7,575 valid answers in total from 20 theatres in Prague, Zagreb, Vienna, Sofia and Helsinki that attend to 1,8 million viewers. “The representatives of the Czech Republic were the National Theatre, Studio Dva, Švandovo Theatre and Jatka78. The Czech Republic has the highest number of answers (36 %) and sold tickets (61 %) so far,” says Michal Lázňovský, the director of the Department of Arts Management at DAMU and the main initiator of the ASSET project.

The survey focused on common socio-demographic data concerning age and gender as well as behavior and preferences of European theatre audiences. As far as five cities are concerned, the audiences in theatres in Prague is on the European average in gender (74 % of women) and age (43 years of age). Finland is an exception in this case as 83 % of theatre audiences are women, and Austria with the youngest audiences due to the selection of participating theatres. The Czech Republic, with the highest share of audiences coming out of Prague, is the leader in travelling to see theatre performances in the capital. “Czech, Finnish and Austrian viewers prefer personal recommendation when selecting the performance. Prague audiences are also interesting regarding the fact that they do not look for information about the performance in advance much, which correlates with the main motivation to go to the theatre – desire to spend time with the family and friends. In this respect Czechs are similar to Austrians, yet they consider going to the theatre a special occasion in everyday life,” says the project manager Martina Pecková Černá from the Arts and Theatre Institute. The Czechs care about the topic of the performance and the cast. On the other hand, the price ticket or the production team are not so important for them. Some running results of the survey were surprising for other partners of the project: audiences in Sofia seek intellectual stimulation and Finland has the most loyal audiences in theatre as art. Another part of the theatre audience survey will take place on the Theatre Night and in spring 2020. The final results will be presented at the conference, which takes place in autumn 2020 in Prague as the highlight of the ASSET project. More information about the project:

The Theatre Night is part of the international project European Theatre Night, which started in Croatia in 2008 by Noc Kazališta. The idea of a shared theatre holiday has spread among more than ten European countries. Last year there were 40 thousand visitors in 109 participating institutions from 30 towns in the Czech Republic. Prague saw 52 participating theatres and companies. The Czech Theatre Night, which has been established in 2013, is thus the biggest project of the European Theatre Night.