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Nonprofit theaters struggling

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While ticket sales and contributions from individuals have remained fairly steady, waning foundation and corporate support for nonprofit theater groups is causing budget trouble, a new survey says.

About half the 465 theaters surveyed by Theatre Communications Group and the Association of Performing Arts Service Organizations say they expect to run a deficit this year, and about the same number say their financial situation is worse than expected.

That’s the case even though subscription and single-ticket sales are the same or higher this year than last.

To make up for budget shortfalls, more than four in 10 theaters are cutting or freezing salaries, a similar number are lowering ticket prices, and almost as
many are using fewer paid artists.

And to increase revenue improve internal processes, more than three in four are relying more on technology and social networking, six in 10 are increasing
communication with stakeholders, and slightly more than half are revising their internal planning processes.

Almost half of theaters say they are feeling the effects of the recession and yet say they are optimistic about the future, but almost a quarter worry things will get worse.

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