The performing arts sector should return to its pre-pandemic level of activity by the spring of 2024, according to a survey conducted by the Institut de la statistique du Québec. The organization also notes that the artistic community has successfully deployed many coping strategies during the health crisis.

If we are to believe the most recent sounding from the Institut de la statistique du Québec, next spring will mark the beginning of a return to normal in the world of the performing arts. Especially when it comes to creative cycles – 56% of respondents believing they will get back to their pre-pandemic pace “within a year” – as will their business partnerships (51%).

On the other hand, 51% of respondents believe that it will be necessary to wait more or less two years before the places of diffusion can fill the theaters with an occupancy rate equivalent to that which prevailed before the pandemic, but also so that companies regain their number of subscriptions (49%) and their own-source revenue (55%) and for artists to resume their tours outside Quebec with the same vigor as in 2019 (46%).

Good news, but not yet a real return to normal. This is confirmed by the stakeholders in the community to whom La Presse spoke. In short, we see the end of the tunnel, but we are not yet ready to open the champagne.

The director general of the Regroupement québécois de la danse, Nadine Medawar, believes that there is still “a lot of catching up” to do, especially for tours, essential in dance, but increasingly expensive.

Nadine Medawar also believes that the survival and operating costs of Quebec dance companies are increasingly high and that they will continue to need government support.

As for RIDEAU, which brings together 350 performance halls in Quebec, we are not ready to celebrate, even if its general manager, Julie-Anne Richard, remains optimistic. “Of course, with the recovery, we ended up with a very large number of shows on the bill, to catch up. But it’s starting to stabilize and we see the occupancy rates of our rooms and our subscriptions slowly increasing. »

The report from the Institut de la statistique du Québec also points out – unsurprisingly – that the maintenance of jobs and the activities of artistic companies and organizations during the pandemic was made possible thanks to emergency aid programs and public subsidies. .

In fact, 90% of organizations in the performing arts sector have continued their creation, production or distribution activities during the health crisis, whether online or outside of performance halls, indicates the Survey on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on companies and organizations in the performing arts sector in Quebec.

During the pandemic, 68% of performing arts companies organized online activities for the first time (including recordings). Among them, 84% believe that these activities have allowed them to stay in touch with their clientele and even reach new audiences (63%), but only 20% of them intend to maintain an offer of shows in line – or even hybrid – after the pandemic.

This data did not surprise Rachel Morse, co-president of the Quebec Theater Council (CQT). “Overall, everyone has gotten into online business, but in the long run, it’s not a viable business,” she said.

Julie-Anne Richard believes that having reached new audiences in the midst of a pandemic (the 63% indicated above) is in itself something extraordinary. “It’s proof that you can be bold and creative, even if you would have liked to demonstrate it in another context. »

Regarding subscriptions, Rachel Morse believes that the pandemic has permanently changed the consumption habits of Quebecers. “People are buying at the last minute, especially since the supply of shows has increased a lot over the past year, so even if the companies find a certain number of subscribers, you have to get used to this new reality. »