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Project Lithuanian Theatre in Numbers by PACS

Eight Lithuanian cities, from Vilnius to Šilutė, have over 50 professional performing arts organisations – national, state and city theatres, independent theatre stages, production companies, personal institutions of directors or choreographers, and troupes formed by like-minded actors. Alongside them, there are a currently unknown number of organisations without this status, the main activity of which is the production and performance of theatre shows. All of these theatres finance their activities from various sources, use different resources, organise their activities in specific ways and pursue their own specific goals. So how can we define what Lithuanian theatre is today? What processes are taking place in one of the most important cultural industries in our country?

In order to find answers to these questions, the Association of Performing Arts Critics aims to create a tool accessible for everyone that will enable to measure, record and monitor processes in the field of Lithuanian theatre. It is an annual comprehensive statistical survey of theatres, collecting a variety of information related to artistic, geographical, social, financial and other theatres’ performance indicators. It is hoped that the study will allow the theatre to be viewed from a variety of perspectives, and its results will be of foremost benefit to the organisations involved in the study, as they will allow the organisations to see their activities in a broader context. Publicly available research results will be a convenient tool for various participants in the cultural field, while for institutions representing Lithuanian culture, this tool will help to describe the country’s theatre field in a simple, clear and comparable way.

The research Lithuanian Theatre in Numbers is aimed at professional performing arts institutions, but companies without such status are also invited to participate. The theatres participating in the study should provide general information about their organisation, as well as certain details of their specific performances being shown. This information will be collected on a questionnaire basis, subsequently processed and made public:

(1) in a comprehensive PDF document presenting common key data that will be made available through an online interface;

(2) in an annual article reviewing the changes that have taken place over the year, showing the most recent trends that have transpired from the newest results;

(3) in leaflets in Lithuanian and English presenting the Lithuanian theatre through statistics. It will be a handy tool for theatres going on tours, organisers of international festivals, the staff of Lithuanian diplomatic missions, as well as theatres looking for additional financial resources in Lithuania.

In order to maximise objectivity, most performance indicators of performance arts organisations shall be presented in four categories, grouping separately national, state, city and independent theatres. Some indicators shall be presented in four groups based on the geographical breakdown into Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda and regions. It is expected to identify:

  • the number of performances and premieres, the number of shows and trips to the theatre, the average cost of a ticket;
  • the categorisation of performances by genre, target audience, source material (a play, other literature, music, etc.), origin of the playwright or composer, the duration of the show, etc.;
  • inclusion of theatre artists by social indicators such as gender, age, country of origin;
  • potential links with creative communities in other countries by documenting performances in foreign countries, the choice to stage works by foreign authors or attracting foreign artists to work in Lithuania.

The project started in 2019 when data was collected only about the premiers by professional performing arts institutions in 2015-2018. The results of the project can be found in the articles Lithuanian Theatre in Figures – Can We Say We Are a Country of Theatre?, published in Lithuanian in the Menufaktura, and Destination Unknown: Τhe Lithuanian Τheatre as Nekrošius Departs published in English in the international magazine Critical Stages. We aim to start collecting information about all the theatrical performances in 2020.

The project is funded by the programme Implementation of Strategic Programmes for Art Creators of the Lithuanian Council for Culture.