HR Study 2010

> HR Trends and Issues

Live Performing Arts - Highlights

Purchase all three documents that make up HR Study 2010 in a printable electronic format

The HR Study 2010 package contains: HR Trends and Issues, Labour Market Information for Canada's Cultural Sector and The Effect of the Global Economic Recession on Canada's Creative Economy in 2009.

Fast Facts

The real value added output (GDP) of the live performing arts domain in 2009 was estimated to be $1.3 billion.
Canadian consumer spending on live performing arts was $1.4 billion in 2008.
Total federal government support for the live performing arts subsector was $241 million for 2007/08.
In the performing arts subsector, there were 4,020 establishments registered in 2009, seven of which were large, 29 of which were medium-sized, 359 of which were small and 1,151 of which were micro-sized.

Major issues

Impact of the recession

Reduced business sponsorship and advertising revenues in the live performing arts have been exacerbated by changing government funding policies and programs. In addition, layoffs in other sectors that arose during the recession have left consumers with less for discretionary spending.

New Technologies

Capturing live performance through audio and video recordings offers new opportunities to share a range of artistic disciplines widely, and to reach new audiences. New technologies have changed audience expectations of performance. Technology raises issues around intellectual property and fair compensation of artists.

Precarious funding

Changes to government policies and funding for all forms of live performing arts have impacted production companies' abilities to make live performances and touring financially feasible. Obtaining funding through philanthropy is difficult, and particularly so in times of economic uncertainty. Many organizations reported struggling with reduced audience sizes.

Training needs

Changing marketing and advertising models leads to the need for training to build new skills. New uses of projection, multi-media integration, rigging, etc. are also necessitating new training for artists and theatre technicians. The development of technical skills for live performing arts often requires performers to take part in special training or development activities. Many decry a lack of availability of management training and mentoring opportunities.

Difficult working conditions

Work in the live performing arts can be characterized as irregular or as unstable employment with unclear career paths. Individuals seeking employment in the field must be prepared for the possibilities of modest or fluctuating incomes, low job security, and the ongoing need to multi-task. Retirement planning is a particular concern.


  1. Ensure sound approaches to developing career paths and financial planning.

  2. Encourage and support mentorship as a way to address succession planning in the live performing arts.

  3. Assist creating, producing and presenting artists and organizations to adapt to changing consumer demographics and behaviours.

  4. Encourage training opportunities on how to incorporate digital media elements into performing arts presentations.

  5. Identify and fill gaps in current live performing arts competency charts and profiles; and make current charts and profiles widely accessible.

  6. Research and publish best practices and new trends in marketing the live performing arts (including on-line promotion).

  7. Undertake research of best practices in career transitioning for workers in the live performing arts.

  8. Encourage arts managements training for all artists and cultural workers.