The operating conditions for England’s major producing theatres in the last five years have been extremely challenging. Arts Council England received major cuts to its Grant in Aid while Local Government funding for the arts has reduced disproportionately to overall funding. Grant funding has always been secondary to the importance of earned income from ticket sales.

For a decade wages have not grown in line with inflation, putting pressure on households’ discretionary spend on leisure activities. This gloomy picture would suggest a period of retrenchment and decline for major regional arts organisations. Analysis of data supplied by 13 of England’s major producing theatres (theatres funded principally to create their own productions rather than present touring shows) demonstrated that as a sector this was not the case. Collectively there is an impressive story of growth both in revenue and in cultural, economic, social and educational impact.