As arts managers plan for the reopening of performance spaces, one of the major challenges facing them will be attracting audiences back. A new survey has found that patrons overwhelmingly intend to return to arts and cultural events in the future, with nine out of 10 respondents saying they will be back. However, 96 percent said that safety measures will affect how soon they will be ready to return.

The Audience Outlook Monitor found that 22 percent of respondents are comfortable with returning as soon as restrictions are lifted, 67 percent will attend when they deem the risk of transmission to be minimal, while 11 percent won’t consider returning until there is no risk at all.

Those most likely to stay away until there is no risk included people living with a disability, those who attend the arts less than once a year, those aged over 65, and those who are retired or unemployed.

One of the ghost lights installed by the Sydney Opera House in each of its theatres during COVID-19. Photograph © Daniel Boud

The survey found that 78 percent of respondents plan to attend as often as they did before COVID-19,...