The Evolution of Theatre Attendance in Italy: Patrons and Companies



This paper examines the Italian theatre market from both the demand and supply side. The descriptive analysis shows that the Italian theatre market is, mainly, localized in the Northern and Central Italian regions for both patrons and companies, confirming a cultural divide between the Southern and the rest of the Italian regions also in the theatrical sector. Like many other European countries, the performing arts in Italy are subsided by public funds through the so-called Fondo Unico per lo Spettacolo (FUS), thereby influencing theatre performance and attendance. As expected, the distribution of the FUS follows the localization of the theatrical companies. The empirical analysis is conducted using 34-year panel data (1980–2013) for the 20 Italian regions. By applying the seemingly unrelated regression (SUR) estimation technique, we identify the factors influencing theatre demand and the number of performances on stage. The estimated results confirm price and consumer income as the main determinants of the number of tickets sold together with the territorial area. In contrast, the number of performances is influenced by income, lagged demand, theatrical employment, and other contextual factors linked to territorial areas and public subsidies.


Theatre demand Theatre supply Theatre production Panel data SUR Italy 


  1. Ateca-Amestoy, V. M. (2008). Determining heterogeneous behaviour for theatre attendance. Journal of Cultural Economics, 32(2), 127–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bonato, L., Gagliardi, F., & Gorelli, S. (1990). The demand for live performing arts in Italy. Journal of Cultural Economics, 14(2), 41–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Borgonovi, F. (2004). Performing arts: An economic approach. Applied Economics, 36(17), 1871–1885.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Borowiecki, K. J., & Castiglione, C. (2014). Cultural participation and tourism flows: An empirical investigation of Italian provinces. Tourism Economics, 20(2), 241–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cameron, S. (1986). The supply and demand for cinema tickets: Some U.K. evidence. Journal of Cultural Economics, 10(1), 38–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Castiglione, C., & Infante, D. (2016). Rational addiction and cultural goods: The case of the Italian theatregoer. Journal of Cultural Economics, 40(2), 163–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cellini, R., & Cuccia, T. (2013). Museum and monument attendance and tourism flow: A time series analysis approach. Applied Economics, 45(24), 3473–3482.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chan, T. W., & Goldthorpe, J. H. (2007). Social stratification and cultural consumption: The visual arts in England. Poetics, 35(2/3), 168–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dewenter, R., & Westermann, M. (2005). Cinema demand in Germany. Journal of Cultural Economics, 29(3), 213–231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Favaro, D., & Frateschi, C. (2007). A discrete choice model of consumption of cultural goods: The case of music. Journal of Cultural Economics, 31(3), 205–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fuortes, C. (2002). La domanda e i consumi culturali. Economia della cultura, XII(2), 153–156.Google Scholar
  12. Istituto Nazionale di Statistica. (2013a). Il Valore della moneta in Italia. Rome: ISTAT.Google Scholar
  13. Istituto Nazionale di Statistica. (2013b). Il reddito disponibile delle famiglie nelle regioni italiane. Rome: ISTAT.Google Scholar
  14. Istituto Nazionale di Statistica. (various years). Capacità e Movimento degli esercizi ricettivi. Rome: ISTAT.Google Scholar
  15. Istituto Nazionale di Statistica. (various years). Indagine sulle forze lavoro. Media, Rome: ISTAT.Google Scholar
  16. Kraaykamp, G. (2003). Literary socialization and reading preferences: Effects of parents, the library, and the school. Poetics, 31(3–4), 235–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali. (2013). Relazione Fondo Unico per lo Spettacolo. Rome: MiBACT.Google Scholar
  18. Nagel, I., Damen, M. L., & Haanstra, F. (2010). The arts course CKV1 and cultural participation in the Netherlands. Poetics, 38(4), 365–385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. O’Hagan, J. W. (1996). Access to and participation in the arts: The case of those with low incomes/educational attainment. Journal of Cultural Economics, 20(4), 260–282.Google Scholar
  20. O’Hagan, J. (2017). Attendance at/participation in the arts by educational level: Evidence and issues. In V. M. Ateca-Amestoy, V. Ginsburgh, I. Mazza, J. O’Hagan, & J. Prieto-Rodriguez (Eds.), Enhancing participation in the arts in the EU. Heidelberg: Springer.Google Scholar
  21. Peterson, R. A., Sherkat, D. E., Balfe, J. H., & Meyersohn, R. (1995). Age and arts participation with a focus on the baby boom cohort. Washington, DC: National Endowment for the Arts.Google Scholar
  22. Sciarelli, F. (2004). Analisi del settore teatrale e suoi fondamenti interpretative. In F. Sciarelli & W. Tortorella (Eds.), Il pubblico del teatro in Italia. Naples: Electa.Google Scholar
  23. Sciarelli, F., & Tortorella, W. (2004). Il pubblico del teatro in Italia. Naples: Electa.Google Scholar
  24. Seaman, B. (2006). Empirical studies of demand for the performing arts. In V. Ginsburgh & D. Throsby (Eds.), Handbook of the economics of art and culture (Vol. 1, pp. 416–472). Amsterdam: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  25. Sisto, A., & Zanola, R. (2010). Cinema attendance in Europe. Applied Economics Letters, 17(5), 515–517.Google Scholar
  26. Società Italiana degli Autori ed Editori. (various years). Annuario dello spettacolo. Rome: SIAE.Google Scholar
  27. Zieba, M. (2009). Full-income and price elasticities of demand for German public theatre. Journal of Cultural Economics, 33(2), 85–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of BolognaBolognaItaly
  2. 2.University of CalabriaCosenzaItaly

Personalised recommendations