Entertainment & Arts

The state of UK theatre: In numbers

Hope Place at Liverpool Everyman Image copyright Jonathan Keenan
Image caption Hope Place, a new play by Michael Wynne, was staged at the new Liverpool Everyman last year

How healthy is British theatre? One snapshot provided by BBC research suggests the number of plays staged by British subsidised theatres rose between 2009 and 2014. This breakdown gives further information.

Read the full story about the findings here and a further analysis here. Full statistics, as well as the definitions and criteria used, can be found below.

The research compared the levels of full professional productions and co-productions staged by 62 UK subsidised theatres in 2009 and 2014.

UK theatre productions
2009 2014 Change
Total productions or co-productions 361 395 +34 (+9%)

By size of theatre company government grant

Over £1m per year 163 200 +37 (+23%)
£250,000-£1m per year 198 195 -3 (-2%)

By theatre location

London 100 101 +1 (+1%)
Out of London 221 240 +19 (+9%)
Touring companies 40 54 +14 (+35%)

Full professional productions were defined as those which lasted at least an hour and ran for at least a week, and did not include youth, community or amateur productions.

Where two or more theatre companies worked together to co-produce a show, duplicate productions were removed from the list so each show was counted once. The relevant totals were adjusted appropriately.

Productions staged by the selected theatres were counted if they opened at any venue in 2009 and 2014 - including transfers and tours that began in those years.

Where a number of shorter plays were staged together, for example a double bill of one-act plays performed in the same evening, this has been counted as a single production.

New plays were defined as shows which had their UK premieres in these calendar years. They include brand new scripts, devised work and stage adaptations of books and films. The term "new play" was used as a convenient catch-all term to cover all plays, musicals, children's shows and dance theatre.

The definition of new plays became more tricky when looking at new adaptations or translations of existing theatre scripts. In this case, an attempt was made to count plays that were comprehensively rewritten or updated.

New plays
2009 2014 Change
Total new plays and musicals 137 172 +35 (+26%)

By size of theatre company grant

Over £1m per year 56 79 +23 (+41%)
£250,000-£1m per year 81 93 +12 (+15%)

By theatre location

London 48 51 +3 (+6%)
Out of London 65 88 +23 (+35%)
Touring companies 24 33 +9 (+38%)
Writers of new plays
2009 2014 Change
Male 104 (68%) 115 (64%) +11
Female 50 (32%) 65 (36%) +15
Directors used
2009 2014 Change
Male 166 (68%) 156 (63%) -10
Female 80 (32%) 90 (37%) +10

The following breakdown provides information for each theatre analysed for the BBC research.

It is not possible to read too much into these individual breakdowns. Levels at an individual company can fluctuate, there may be reasons for specific changes, and a company may do other work that is not counted as a full production for these purposes.

But the bigger picture can be gained by looking at these figures together.

National Theatre
2009 2014 Change
Funding (Arts Council England) £19,220,748 (2009/10) £17,586,627 (2014/15) -£1,634,121
Productions & co-productions 21 23 +2
New plays 9 12 +3
Co-productions 3 7 +4
Actors 304 326 +22
Writers 23 22 -1
Directors 16 17 +1

NB: One of the National's three auditoria was closed for refurbishment for most of 2014, and was replaced by a temporary venue, The Shed, which was dedicated to new theatre.

Royal Shakespeare Company
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £15,589,527 (2009/10) £15,779,579 (2014/15) +£190,052
Productions & co-productions 15 19 +4
New plays 2 5 +3
Co-productions 2 1 -1
Actors 176 201 +25
Writers 7 18 +11
Directors 13 13 -

NB: The RSC's two normal theatres were closed for refurbishment in 2009, and were replaced by one temporary venue, The Courtyard.

National Theatre of Scotland
2009 2014 Change
Funding (Scottish government) £4,490,000 (2009/10) £4,295,000 (2014/15) -£195,000
Productions & co-productions 7 14 +7
New plays 3 7 +4
Co-productions 3 11 +8
Actors 56 84 +28
Writers 9 30 +21
Directors 5 11 +6

NB: The National Theatre of Scotland's production levels have grown over time since its birth in 2006. Also, in 2009, the company produced eight community productions, which have not been counted. In 2014, Dear Scotland used 20 writers - hence the rise in that category.

Royal Exchange, Manchester
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £2,437,162 (2009/10) £2,332,047 (2014/15) -£105,115
Productions & co-productions 10 12 +2
New plays 4 4 -
Co-productions 2 4 +2
Actors 82 85 +3
Writers 10 11 +1
Directors 7 9 +2
Royal Court, London
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £2,248,747 (2009/10) £2,311,234 (2014/15) +£62,487
Productions & co-productions 13 16 +3
New plays 11 12 +1
Co-productions 3 5 +2
Actors 78 77 -1
Writers 11 14 +3
Directors 12 14 +2
Leicester Curve
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £2m (2009/10) £1,914,029 (2014/15) -£85,971
Productions & co-productions 7 5 -2
New plays 1 2 +1
Co-productions 2 2 -
Actors 59 49 -10
Writers 10 10 -
Directors 7 3 -4
Birmingham Rep
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £1,903,173 (2009/10) £1,833,953 (2014/15) -£69,220
Productions & co-productions 8 14 +6
New plays 3 6 +3
Co-productions 3 9 +6
Actors 71 91 +20
Writers 17 13 -4
Directors 9 12 +3
Young Vic, London
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £1,551,894 (2009/10) £1,760,143 (2014/15) +£208,249
Productions & co-productions 11 16 +5
New plays 4 5 +1
Co-productions 7 10 +3
Actors 51 88 +37
Writers 12 23 +11
Directors 14 19 +5
Chichester Festival Theatre
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £1,614,628 (2009/10) £1,740,214 (2014/15) +£125,586
Productions & co-productions 12 15 +3
New plays 4 3 -1
Co-productions 2 7 +5
Actors 143 203 +60
Writers 16 25 +9
Directors 10 13 +3
Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £1,613,735 (2009/10) £1,649,977 (2014/15) +£36,242
Productions & co-productions 10 9 -1
New plays 3 4 +1
Co-productions 6 3 -3
Actors 73 102 +29
Writers 12 11 -1
Directors 10 7 -3
Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold
2009 2014 Change
Funding (Arts Council of Wales) £1,544,802 (2009/10) £1,603,875 (2014/15) +£59,073
Productions & co-productions 8 8 -
New plays 1 2 +1
Co-productions 0 1 +1
Actors 60 49 -11
Writers 8 8 -
Directors 4 5 +1
Northern Stage, Newcastle
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £1,362,890 (2009/10) £1,562,496 (2014/15) +£199,606
Productions & co-productions 4 5 +1
New plays 1 2 +1
Co-productions 1 1 -
Actors 22 32 +10
Writers 4 6 +2
Directors 3 4 +1
West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £1,574,542 (2009/10) £1,508,104 (2014/15) -£66,438
Productions & co-productions 9 14 +5
New plays 1 4 +3
Co-productions 7 5 -2
Actors 94 112 +18
Writers 11 15 +4
Directors 8 11 +3
Nottingham Playhouse
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £1,415,625 (2009/10) £1,354,807 (2014/15) -£60,818
Productions & co-productions 9 9 -
New plays 2 3 +1
Co-productions 5 3 -2
Actors 63 79 +16
Writers 12 10 -2
Directors 7 9 +2
Bristol Old Vic
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £1,283,750 (2009/10) £1,228,381 (2014/15) -£55,639
Productions & co-productions 8 9 +1
New plays 5 5 -
Co-productions 6 2 -4
Actors 45 64 +19
Writers 12 10 -2
Directors 8 5 -3
The Lyceum, Edinburgh
2009 2014 Change
Funding (Scottish Arts Council/Creative Scotland) £1,212,000 (2009/10) £1,212,000 (2014/15) -
Productions & co-productions 7 7 -
New plays 0 3 +3
Co-productions 2 2 -
Actors 52 47 -5
Writers 7 7 -
Directors 6 6 -
Theatre Royal Plymouth
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £1,238,840 (2009/10) £1,185,410 (2014/15) -£53,430
Productions & co-productions 4 8 +4
New plays 3 5 +2
Co-productions 1 5 +4
Actors 25 38 +13
Writers 5 7 +2
Directors 4 8 +4
Citizens Theatre, Glasgow
2009 2014 Change
Funding (SAC/CS) £1,111,000 (2009/10) £1,111,000 (2014/15) -
Productions & co-productions 4 5 +1
New plays 0 1 +1
Co-productions 0 1 +1
Actors 20 34 +14
Writers 4 5 +1
Directors 2 2 -
Dundee Rep
2009 2014 Change
Funding (SAC/CS) £1,025,150 (2009/10) £1,085,150 (2014/15) +£60,000
Productions & co-productions 7 9 +2
New plays 1 2 +1
Co-productions 1 2 +1
Actors 32 31 -1
Writers 9 10 +1
Directors 5 7 +2
Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACW) £1,052,942 (2009/10) £1,052,942 (2014/15) -
Productions & co-productions 3 5 +2
New plays 1 2 +1
Co-productions 0 2 +2
Actors 20 23 +3
Writers 3 5 +2
Directors 3 4 +1
Traverse, Edinburgh
2009 2014 Change
Funding (SAC/CS) £974,650 (2009/10) £974,650 (2014/15) -
Productions & co-productions 8 7 -1
New plays 6 5 -1
Co-productions 5 4 -1
Actors 43 18 -25
Writers 10 8 -2
Directors 7 4 -3

NB: The Traverse also puts on a particularly high number of new plays that have short running times and short runs, and therefore have not been counted.

Theatre Royal Stratford East, London
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £877,137 (2009/10) £955,506 (2014/15) +£78,369
Productions & co-productions 4 4 -
New plays 3 2 -1
Co-productions 1 1 -
Actors 31 44 +13
Writers 6 6 -
Directors 3 4 +1
New Vic, Newcastle-under-Lyme
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £974,427 (2009/10) £932,401 (2014/15) -£42,026
Productions & co-productions 9 9 -
New plays 1 1 -
Co-productions 0 3 +3
Actors 55 76 +21
Writers 9 10 +1
Directors 7 8 +1
Contact, Manchester
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £910,442 (2009/10) £916,435 (2014/15) +£5,993
Productions & co-productions 4 4 -
New plays 3 4 +1
Co-productions 4 2 -2
Actors 16 8 -8
Writers 4 3 -1
Directors 4 2 -2

NB: Contact makes and stages a range of experimental shows for a youth audience, many of which did not meet the criteria for full productions for these purposes.

New Wolsey, Ipswich
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £743,473 (2009/10) £803,028 (2014/15) +£59,555
Productions & co-productions 4 4 -
New plays 1 2 +1
Co-productions 2 2 -
Actors 39 40 +1
Writers 6 5 -1
Directors 1 3 +2
Colchester Mercury
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £812,417 (2009/10) £777,378 (2014/15) -£35,039
Productions & co-productions 8 9 +1
New plays 2 1 -1
Co-productions 3 3 -
Actors 41 67 +26
Writers 8 16 +8
Directors 7 7 -
Royal and Derngate, Northampton
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £735,290 (2009/10) £766,417 (2014/15) +£31,127
Productions & co-productions 11 9 -2
New plays 1 5 +4
Co-productions 3 5 +2
Actors 59 52 -7
Writers 10 8 -2
Directors 9 7 -2
Tricycle, London
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £762,401 (2009/10) £729,519 (2014/15) -£32,882
Productions & co-productions 6 4 -2
New plays 6 2 -4
Co-productions 0 1 +1
Actors 54 27 -27
Writers 16 4 -12
Directors 4 2 -2

NB: In 2009, The Tricycle staged two major projects. The Great Game consisted of 12 short plays by 12 writers that were performed in three sets of four. Therefore these have been counted as the equivalent of three full productions. Not Black and White consisted of three full-length productions.

Tron, Glasgow
2009 2014 Change
Funding (SAC/CS) £707,000 (2009/10) £707,000 (2014/15) -
Productions & co-productions 6 6 -
New plays 3 1 -2
Co-productions 1 1 -
Actors 26 24 -2
Writers 7 5 -2
Directors 3 3 -
Battersea Arts Centre
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £652,145 (2009/10) £693,897 (2014/15) +£41,752
Productions & co-productions 4 2 -2
New plays 1 2 +1
Co-productions 3 2 -1
Actors 18 4 -14
Writers 5 4 -1
Directors 3 0 -3

NB: Battersea Arts Centre puts on a range of cutting-edge work, some of which did not meet the criteria for full productions for these purposes.

English Touring Theatre
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £710,435 (2009/10) £679,794 (2014/15) -£30,641
Productions & co-productions 5 4 -1
New plays 2 0 -2
Co-productions 4 4 -
Actors 51 53 +2
Writers 7 4 -3
Directors 5 4 -1
Headlong (touring company)
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £710,435 (2009/10) £679,794 (2014/15) -£30,641
Productions & co-productions 5 3 -2
New plays 2 2 -
Co-productions 5 3 -2
Actors 45 28 -17
Writers 3 4 +1
Directors 3 4 +1
Almeida, London
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £1,030,021 (2009/10) £675,499 (2014/15) -£354,522
Productions & co-productions 6 6 -
New plays 2 3 +1
Co-productions 2 1 -1
Actors 38 73 +35
Writers 7 7 -
Directors 6 5 -1
Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £696,522 (2009/10) £637,715 (2014/15) -£58,807
Productions & co-productions 9 10 +1
New plays 2 6 +4
Co-productions 0 0 -
Actors 32 37 +5
Writers 10 8 -2
Directors 4 4 -
Live Theatre, Newcastle
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £569,817 (2009/10) £626,724 (2014/15) +£56,907
Productions & co-productions 5 5 -
New plays 4 3 -1
Co-productions 2 2 -
Actors 26 13 -13
Writers 5 5 -
Directors 2 4 +2
Bolton Octagon
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £602,567 (2009/10) £616,553 (2014/15) +£13,986
Productions & co-productions 9 10 +1
New plays 3 2 -1
Co-productions 3 3 -
Actors 56 55 -1
Writers 10 9 -1
Directors 6 4 -2
Theatre By The Lake, Keswick
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £470,870 (2009/10) £604,067 (2014/15) +£133,197
Productions & co-productions 8 9 +1
New plays 2 1 -1
Co-productions 0 0 -
Actors 34 33 -1
Writers 9 9 -
Directors 3 4 +1
York Theatre Royal
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £595,743 (2009/10) £587,254 (2014/15) -£8,489
Productions & co-productions 12 11 -1
New plays 7 2 -5
Co-productions 7 7 -
Actors No info No info No info
Writers 13 10 -3
Directors 9 6 -3
Graeae (touring company)
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £579,327 (2009/10) £564,400 (2014/15) -£14,927
Productions & co-productions 2 2 -
New plays 2 1 -1
Co-productions 2 2 -
Actors 14 27 +13
Writers 2 2 -
Directors 2 3 +1
Nuffield, Southampton
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £607,066 (2009/10) £553,433 (2014/15) -£53,633
Productions & co-productions 6 6 -
New plays 1 3 +2
Co-productions 2 4 +2
Actors 36 39 +3
Writers 7 6 -1
Directors 4 6 +2
Donmar Warehouse, London
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £527,364 (2009/10) £504,619 (2014/15) -£22,745
Productions & co-productions 9 7 -2
New plays 2 2 -
Co-productions 1 0 -1
Actors 82 78 -4
Writers 11 9 -2
Directors 7 5 -2
Bush, London
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £517,606 (2009/10) £495,281 (2014/15) -£22,325
Productions & co-productions 9 5 -4
New plays 8 5 -3
Co-productions 2 2 -
Actors 30 23 -7
Writers 13 5 -8
Directors 5 5 -
Watermill, Newbury
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £327,620 (2009/10) £450,386 (2014/15) +£122,766
Productions & co-productions 9 9 -
New plays 1 5 +4
Co-productions 2 2 -
Actors 57 70 +13
Writers 12 11 -1
Directors 7 7 -
Out of Joint (touring company)
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £550,087 (2009/10) £426,353 (2014/15) -£123,734
Productions & co-productions 2 4 +2
New plays 2 3 +1
Co-productions 2 4 +2
Actors 22 38 +16
Writers 2 4 +2
Directors 1 2 +1
Oxford Playhouse
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £293,179 (2009/10) £379,474 (2014/15) +£86,295
Productions & co-productions 1 1 -
New plays 0 0 -
Co-productions 0 0 -
Actors 11 11 -
Writers 1 1 -
Directors 1 1 -
Everyman, Cheltenham
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £394,564 (2009/10) £377,547 (2014/15) -£17,017
Productions & co-productions 2 2 -
New plays 1 1 -
Co-productions 1 1 -
Actors 3 5 +2
Writers 2 3 +1
Directors 2 2 -
Hackney Empire, London
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £385,125 (2009/10) £368,514 (2014/15) -£16,611
Productions & co-productions 1 1 -
New plays 0 0 -
Co-productions 0 0 -
Actors 10 15 +5
Writers 1 2 +1
Directors 1 1 -
Orange Tree, London
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £381,630 (2009/10) £365,170 (2014/15) -£16,460
Productions & co-productions 8 10 +2
New plays 1 5 +4
Co-productions 0 0 -
Actors 68 96 +28
Writers 10 18 +8
Directors 6 17 +11
Kneehigh (touring company)
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £370,658 (2009/10) £354,672 (2014/15) -£15,986
Productions & co-productions 3 3 -
New plays 0 1 +1
Co-productions 3 1 -2
Actors 41 32 -9
Writers 4 5 +1
Directors 2 2 -
Theatre Centre (touring company)
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £409,469 (2009/10) £341,971 (2014/15) -£67,498
Productions & co-productions 3 3 -
New plays 2 2 -
Co-productions 0 0 -
Actors 10 10 -
Writers 3 3 -
Directors 1 2 +1
Pilot (touring company)
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £279,893 (2009/10) £329,720 (2014/15) +£49,827
Productions & co-productions 2 2 -
New plays 1 2 +1
Co-productions 2 2 -
Actors 11 12 +1
Writers 2 2 -
Directors 2 2 -
Paines Plough (touring company)
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £277,290 (2009/10) £315,620 (2014/15) +£38,330
Productions & co-productions 2 10 +8
New plays 2 6 +4
Co-productions 2 8 +6
Actors 9 29 +20
Writers 2 9 +7
Directors 1 3 +2
Tamasha (touring company)
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £328,640 (2009/10) £314,465 (2014/15) -£14,175
Productions & co-productions 1 1 -
New plays 1 1 -
Co-productions 1 1 -
Actors 11 3 -8
Writers 1 1 -
Directors 1 1 -
The Gate, London
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £298,047 (2009/10) £306,331 (2014/15) +£8,284
Productions & co-productions 3 5 +2
New plays 3 5 +2
Co-productions 1 1 -
Actors 13 11 -2
Writers 3 5 +2
Directors 2 6 +4
New Perspectives (touring company)
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £316,385 (2009/10) £302,745 (2014/15) -£13,640
Productions & co-productions 4 4 -
New plays 3 4 +1
Co-productions 1 1 -
Actors 10 12 +2
Writers 5 3 -2
Directors 2 1 -1
Pegasus, Oxford
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £310,000 (2009/10) £299,973 (2014/15) -£10,027
Productions & co-productions 1 1 -
New plays 1 0 -1
Co-productions 1 0 -1
Actors 3 4 +1
Writers 1 1 -
Directors 1 1 -
Oily Cart (touring company)
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £270,682 (2009/10) £286,575 (2014/15) +£15,893
Productions & co-productions 3 3 -
New plays 3 3 -
Co-productions 1 0 -1
Actors 13 9 -4
Writers 1 1 -
Directors 1 1 -
Theatr Bara Caws (touring company)
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACW) £287,556 (2009/10) £284,680 (2014/15) -£2,876
Productions & co-productions 4 2 -2
New plays 4 2 -2
Co-productions 0 0 -
Actors 14 9 -5
Writers 6 2 -4
Directors 4 1 -3
Queens Theatre, Hornchurch
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £289,519 (2009/10) £277,032 (2014/15) -£12,487
Productions & co-productions 8 8 -
New plays 0 1 +1
Co-productions 1 1 -
Actors 51 28 -23
Writers 10 12 +2
Directors 4 3 -1
Dukes, Lancaster
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £267,738 (2009/10) £256,190 (2014/15) -£11,548
Productions & co-productions 5 4 -1
New plays 1 2 +1
Co-productions 1 2 +1
Actors 26 22 -4
Writers 5 4 -1
Directors 4 3 -1
Northern Broadsides (touring company)
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £278,828 (2009/10) £255,287 (2014/15) -£23,541
Productions & co-productions 2 2 -
New plays 1 1 -
Co-productions 1 2 +1
Actors 21 21 -
Writers 2 2 -
Directors 2 2 -
Propeller (touring company)
2009 2014 Change
Funding (ACE) £0 (2009/10) £253,941 (2014/15) +£253,941
Productions & co-productions 2 1 -1
New plays 0 0 -
Co-productions 2 0 -2
Actors 14 6 -8
Writers 1 1 -
Directors 1 1 -

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