By: Sarah Lee

January 27, 2015

Alphawood Foundation, as part of its effort to support non-profit theater in and around Chicago, partnered with Slover Linett Audience Research to conduct a study that would illuminate the ways that these theaters are funded. In particular, Alphawood sought to understand the major sources of revenue for this sector. Understanding these revenue sources will promote the continued growth of a vibrant and healthy theater community by deepening our understanding of the sector as a whole. The questions that this study seeks to answer are tightly focused and are intended to provide an initial, empirical snapshot of theater revenue:

  • What is the overall size of the Chicago-area non-profit theater sector? 
  • What are Chicago theaters’ main revenue streams and what are the constituent parts that comprise these main revenue streams? 
  • What share of this overall revenue comes from each of the primary revenue streams (earned vs. contributed)—and what are the proportions coming from more detailed components of those primary revenue streams? 
  • What is the revenue breakdown for relevant sub-sectors of the Chicago-area non-profit theater sector?

For the purposes of this study, we defined a universe of non-profit theaters in Chicago that contains 207 theaters.

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