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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

THEATRE SURVEY (article first published : 2003-03-30)

The long awaited survey to determine public opinion on what is right and what is wrong in the performing arts in Durban has now been completed. Initiated by artSMart editor Caroline Smart under the banner of Caroline Smart Services, in conjunction with PANSA and Illa Thompson from Publicity Matters, the survey results are now available.

Funding for the survey was obtained from the Bartel Arts Trust and the printing of questionnaires was sponsored by AtlasPrinters. A total of 800 respondents were targeted and almost 600 questionnaires eventually completed.

The demographics of the greater Durban area were used as basis. The survey was made possible with the kind assistance of theatres, shopping centres, libraries and individuals. Various interesting factors are now available to the industry for consideration in their future planning.

Surprisingly, considering that the venue is underutilised and the three well-equipped theatres are often dark, the Playhouse Complex remains the most sought after venue by Durban theatregoers. The Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre also came out as one of the most preferred venues.

Safety of vehicles seems to be hindering theatre attendances as does the cost of tickets. A large percentage of the public indicated their wish to attend performances more regularly should ticket prices be more affordable.

Overwhelming support for all genres including drama was evident. The survey further shows that word of mouth remains the biggest influence to see a show followed by posters and newspaper articles (not necessarily reviews).

The facilitator of the survey was Thomie Holtzhausen, assisted by secretary Sue Holloway. A complete copy of the survey is available from Caroline Smart Services on e-mail: csmart@iafrica.com




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