The performing arts make an important contribution to the economy, society, employment, as well as sustainable development, tourism, and education. They generate revenues of $127 billion and employ 3.5 million people worldwide. Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in spring 2020, the performing arts have been among the most negatively affected sectors. The containment measures that have been put in place have led to a chain of effects, severely impacting their economic and social situation.
Cultural institutions have been forced to make significant adjustments to their operations this past year. That involves changing how the theatres are managed and seasons are planned; how artists are engaged; how productions are created, performed and toured; how new audiences are reached and expanded; and how relations are established and nurtured with donors and partners. The process of recovery is an opportunity for the performing arts sector to reinvent itself for tomorrow’s world.
Over the summer, Opera Europa and FEDORA led a market study conducted on a pro-bono basis by the global management consulting firm Kearney. This market study establishes a qualitative and quantitative assessment on where the European opera and dance sector stands today on the topics of sustainability, inclusivity, and digital transformation. With 100 participating companies throughout Europe sharing their perspectives on the three strands, followed up by in-depth interviews with 37 committed organisations, the findings of this study form an excellent basis to benchmark organisations on their accomplishments and ambitions. Key takeaways of the survey show that many organisations embrace these three areas of interest and some have already taken steps towards transforming themselves. While they are aware of the need to change on several levels, their principal challenge is gathering the expertise and financial capacity to do so, and to set up the measurement tools to assess impact. Next Stage aims to support their ambitions.
Opera Europa and FEDORA will showcase the successful projects’ transformative activities in regard to sustainability, equality and digital transformation during professional meetings, designed to share expert knowledge and to learn best-practices among peers. This ‘light-house project’ will not only encourage the entire sector to increase efficiency and reduce costs, but it will also trigger a positive ripple effect to build economic, social and environmental resilience within the wider world. The purpose is for opera and dance companies proactively to transform themselves, so that the cultural sector may become an exemplary leader.
Director Marketing & Communications