The Year That Was (And Not Any Better)

Why do annual reports always make things look as rosy a possible, asks Theatre Communications Group director Ben Cameron. So his assessment of the current year in theatre business: “Conceived in affluent times, the 2002 fiscal year was one redefined by the events of 9/11, by unanticipated new patterns of audience behavior and fears of terrorism, by a crumbling national economy and rapidly escalating unemployment. As our recently released TheatreFacts 2002 demonstrates, it was a year in which local and city funding fell by 44 percent, in which the number of corporate donors fell, in which foundation funding slipped and in which field expenses grew more quickly than earned revenues. It was a year in which 54 percent of theatres finished the year with a deficit—a shocking slide from the 71 percent that had achieved a surplus just two years earlier—and had not individual contributors rallied in unprecedented numbers, covering more than 20 percent of expenses, as opposed to the 9.6 percent covered five years ago—the results would have been far worse.”