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Dec 11 2020

People Are Ready To Go Back To Theatres If Public Health Measures Are In Place

More people in Ireland are ready to go to theatre, dance music and other performances, but only if public health measures such as social distancing, mask wearing and sanitising are in place, new research from the Arts Council shows.

Releasing an update of its ‘Arts during Covid-19’ survey, carried out by Behaviours & Attitudes (B&A) in October, the state agency for funding and developing the arts said there was still a high level of concern among members of the public about attending live arts events. But two thirds (67 percent) of respondents said they would be more likely to go to an arts event if there were a limit on the numbers attending – and an increase from half (54 percent) of those polled in the June survey. Most people also supported other health measures, such as temperature checks, face masks and hand sanitising.

There was also an increase in the number of people who were engaging with the arts online – whether concerts and plays or art classes or tutorials – 36 percent, up from 32 percent before the summer.

And in what may represent good news for artists trying to find ways to make their work viable in a digital world, two thirds of online arts consumers (64 percent) now say they are willing to pay for accessing arts content online. This is a significant increase compared with the B&A poll of last June, where 54 percent said they were willing to pay.

“These numbers are heartening for us and for everyone in the arts,” said Arts Council Director Maureen Kennelly. “They tell us what we hoped to hear – people everywhere in Ireland really want to get back the arts, and they want to do so safely and in compliance with the health regulations.”

“We also note that more people are now willing to pay to experience the arts online. As we state in our ‘Paying the Artist’ policy, it is crucial that the artists who make the work we all enjoy are properly compensated, so this is a welcome trend,” she added.

The B&A survey was conducted to establish levels of willingness to attend live arts events and alternative formats as Ireland adapts to the COVID- 19 pandemic, with the full programme of interviews conducted online via B&A’s Online Omnibus. The poll is strictly quota-controlled to reflect the population of the State and delivers a sample of 1,000 adults aged 16 years plus.​