Author Topic: Performing Arts Workforce Study (US)  (Read 7153 times)

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Performing Arts Workforce Study (US)
« on: Jul 06, 2020, 01:33 pm »
Together with the SM Survey's terrific principal investigator, David McGraw, I have developed and launched RETURN TO THE STAGE, a study of Performing Arts workers in the United States. Rather than an economic impact study, this effort is focused on documenting coping strategies, future aspirations and expectations for the field, and individual plans for the future in the performing arts workforce.

Given the outsize importance of SMNetwork in my own professional life, it seemed a no-brainer to share the survey here. David and I plan to provide a report public, free of charge, later this summer.

We have a strong response from folx in Theater; we are especially interested in bringing in more responses from people whose primary discipline is Opera, Dance, Music, Puppetry, etc. One approach that has been somewhat successful is for SMs to email the FAQ below to their most recent schedule/report distribution lists, together with a personal note. David and I are also happy to answer any questions, or see you join the mailing list through the study website (link below).


RETURN TO THE STAGE is a longitudinal study of performing arts workers in the United States, designed to understand COVID-19 related impacts and to begin documenting a broad future vision for the field. It is a collaborative, grassroots effort led by Meg Friedman (LinkedIn) and David McGraw (About).

Additional information and survey link:

Why are you doing this?

The workforce is the lifeblood of the performing arts sector.  Performing arts workers are also uniquely resilient and creative, accustomed to working for multiple employers on very short contracts, developing new team dynamics on tight deadlines, and creating performances in new and non-traditional spaces. This survey will help us understand how the performing arts workforce is experiencing the effects of COVID-19 related restrictions, what kinds of coping strategies the workforce is using, and what hopes the performing arts field has for its future in the months and years to come.

There exist several excellent studies of producing and presenting organizations but more research needs to be done of the workforce itself independent of the primary employer.

Who should take it?

Anyone who has worked or volunteered in the Performing Arts in the United States in the past 12 months is eligible to participate in this study.  All participants should be at least 18 years old.  The initial survey and each subsequent edition (January 2021 and July 2021) should take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete.

Your input is anonymous, and individual data will never be shared.

When should/can I take the survey?

The survey will be open for two weeks starting Wednesday, July 1.  At the end of the survey you will be asked for your name and email on a separate survey (to protect the anonymity of your responses) to be contacted again in January 2021 and July 2021 for short follow-up surveys.  The report of the July 2020 survey will be made freely available by late summer.

Questions? returntothestage [at] gmail [dot] com.

Survey Link: