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The Value of Presenting: A Study of Performing Arts Presentation in Canada

Key Message

A broad range of public benefits are associated with performing arts presentation, including better health and well-being, greater energy and vitality in communities, and a more caring and cohesive society.


Strategic Moves. (2013). The Value of Presenting: A Study of Performing Arts Presentation in Canada. Ottawa, Ontario: Canadian Arts Presenting Association.


This report is the culmination of two years of intensive study and exploration designed to envision performing arts presenters' current and future roles within the performing arts ecosystem, in their communities and in society at large. It represents the largest pan-Canadian study to date in the performing arts presenting field.

It was designed to take into consideration several trends that affect the performing arts sector: demographics, technology, market fragmentation, evolution of artistic genres, municipal cultural planning and economic uncertainty.

Goals of the project were to:

  • Identify, understand and communicate the value and benefits of performaing arts presentations for Canadians

  • Define and raise awareness of the role of the presenter in the performing arts ecosystem, in communities  and in society with the next 20 years in mind

  • Identify commonalities and differnces among diverse segments of the presenting field.

A participatory action research framework was employed where data and information was shared in draft form throughout the 2-year project on the dedicated project website at Feedback, input and discussion  was encouraged through socialmedia and workshops on anongoing basis.

Research activities included:

  • Literature Review was prepared in 2011 and updated in April 2012.

  • Historic Overview of Presenting was prepared in 2011 and updated in April 2012.

  • In-depth interviews with 45 contributors from within the presenting and touring sectors, funders,education, health and social services.

  • Survey of Performing Arts Presenters, 288 respondents; report published in February 2012, including a French executive summary and detailed tables.

  • Survey of the General Public, 1,031 respondents; report published in March 2012, including a French executive summary and detailed tables.

  • Additional surveying of 57 francophones living outside Quebec for a total sample of 103 for a supplemental report on Canada’s francophonie.

  • 23 workshops and presentations and seven webinars with 1,087 participants.

Seven of these activities were conducted in French; all others in English. Results were published inthe language of activity on following each workshop.


Canadians are invested in performing arts presentation through ticket buying, volunteering and donating.

  • Canadians’ spending on live performing arts ($1.4 billion) was more than double their spending on live sports events ($650 million) in 2008.
  • Canadians volunteered 100 million hours for arts and culture organizations in 2010.
  • For each paid staff member, there are 17 volunteers giving their time to performing arts presenting organizations.

Performing arts benefits span many aspects of life.

  • Canadians believe that the presentation of performing arts equally benefits the individual who attends and the community as a whole.
  • Canadians who attend performing arts events are first and foremost looking for a fun, entertaining experience (84%). They are also seeking emotional, intellectual or spiritual stimulation (58%), as well as the opportunity to experience or learn something new (57%).
  • For Canadians, the highest-rated benefits of the performing arts in their communities are energy and vitality along with improved quality of life, and a more creative community.
  • The broader society also benefits from the spill-over effects of the performing arts on health, education, social cohesion and economic development.

Performing arts presenters of all types play an active role in communities across Canada.

  • There are more than 1,400 presenting organizations of all types in Canada: volunteer presenters and professionally-run organizations, based in a purpose-built theatre or operating in non-specialized venues, presenting festivals and series of performances, specialized in a single artistic form or presenting several disciplines such as music, theatre, dance, comedy and storytelling.
  • Nearly all presenters partner with other organizations, in areas such as education (78%) social services (37%), cultural diversity/immigration (33%) and health (29%). The main objective of these partnerships is the enrichment of the community (84%).



Benefit Statements / Outcomes

Leadership Provided By:

  • Leisure Information Network (LIN)
  • Alberta Recreation and Parks Association

On Behalf Of:

  • Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRAA)

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