Ticket sales for shows falls 13.6%

Total ticket sales for live shows in Australia fell by 13.6% last year in a trend that Aussie producers say reflects Oz’s faltering economy during the period.

Annual figures were released ahead of the Helpmann Awards, the national pan-genre kudocast staged Monday at the Sydney Opera House.

Receipts compiled by Ernst and Young on behalf of industry org Live Performance Australia showed gross revenue of A$1.061 billion ($831 million) for festivals, classical and contemporary music, musical theater, theater, opera, dance and family performances.

In the five years the survey has been undertaken, overall figures appear to have grown and then slumped in line with the broader economy. (Individual show grosses are a tightly guarded secret in Oz.)

In 2007 receipts were $1.01 billion, in 2006 $953 million and in 2005 $686 million, but some of the changes can be attributed to shifts in methodology and compilation orgs ironing out bugs.

“It’s still a very strong market,” said LPA’s topper Evelyn Richardson. “Audiences, while they are discerning, are still there.”

Although contemporary music is still the top earner in Oz, tuners are the No. 2 moneymakers. Sector registered 10% growth to $2.1 million in 2008 mostly as a result of higher ticket prices, with attendance in the sector falling by 7%.

Still, growth was also the result of popular seasons of top shows “Wicked,” “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Billy Elliott.”

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