News: New Arts Council survey

Monday 21 February 2005

Arts Council England has just published Arts in England, a new research report on public engagement with the arts. The survey had 6,000 plus participants and was conducted between Sept 03 and Jan 04. It found that 12% of respondents had seen a dance performance in the last 12 months. This was the same percentage as found in a similar survey two years before. There was an increase in those having seen a contemporary dance performance – from 3% to 4%.

The report shows that there has been an increase in the numbers of people who think that the arts should receive public funding increased from 75% in 2001 to 79% in 2003.

Launching the report, Sir Christopher Frayling, Chair of the Arts Council said “That’s almost the same degree of support for a public health service and education. And we know how high they are on the political agenda.” He also thought that politicians are “embarrassed” to be associated with the arts: “The left is as uncomfortable with opera as the right is with street arts. The achievements of our sporting heroines and heroes – great though they may be – are more than matched by the achievements of our playwrights and actors, dancers and musicians. In London, and in the cultural sphere, we win the Olympics, cross the line, get into the finals over and over again.” Read more in the Guardian, 17 Feb

‘Politicians should trust those levels of enthusiasm. They should embrace the arts not fear them. Who knows, they might be more trusted if they did.’ Guardian leader, 17 Feb

‘A quarter of the 6,025 people over the age of 16 who were surveyed for the Arts Council said they had been to see a play in the previous 12 months. Of those, 26% had been to see a musical. The figure is remarkable because musicals are expensive to produce and to see and are not widely staged across the country. It is a dramatic form that has enjoyed a big resurgence in London’s West End…’ Observer, 20 Feb

Download the full report

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