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What’s Happening With Regional Theatres?


Because of Covid, regional theatres have had to re-tool and reinvent their business model. Statistics tell us that a 30% drop in revenue (or more) is not uncommon. Some theatres have had to close their doors altogether while others resorted to “online” readings and performances to maintain their relationships to their subscribers. It is not all bad news, however. Non-profit theatres are making a comeback. Slowly but surely, new projects are in the works for these theatres. How will this affect you? What are the ways you can take advantage of this shift? What’s Happening with Regional Theatres? You’ll find out on this episode of Casting Actors Cast!


First, What has happened during the past 3 years:

1) 2019-record subscriptions across the board with regional theatres

2) A nine billion dollar a year industry until the shut down

3) Non-profit theatres responsible for over 40 thousand full time employees to 28 in 2021 and slowly climbing back

4) A majority of theatres across the country tried to keep open by virtual performances, Zoom readings and community outreach (Barrington)

5) Sadly, many regional theatres closed their doors completely (Guthrie/GSP/Crossroads)


Second, what is happening now

1) As restrictions loosen up, more plays are in the works with live audiences (protocols still in place)

2) Reluctant audience’s still dictate the viability of plays as a “return” albeit smaller casts/productions to save expenses

3) Hy-bred alternatives still being offered

4) Live casting is returning with EPA’s being done virtually


Third, what is the best strategy for the actor to participate

1) Union/Non-union status for each theatre might have changed

2) Pay attention to the casting announcements in Backstage/Actors Access/Theatre World, etc.

3) If you can make yourself a “local Hire” then reach out to the theatre or CD and make that known

4) Be ready with virtual audition or Self Tape requests

5) Agents/managers may be reluctant to submit you for theatre. Make sure your interests are made clear.


There is good reason to be optimistic about acting in regional theatres this summer. Restrictions are lifting, theatre companies are gearing up, the public seems to be anxious to get back to live performances. The question is, are you ready for this new shift? Do you have a plan to put you into the mix for casting directors? Feeling reading and being ready are often two different mindsets. Whatever yours is, hang in there, the road may be bumpy, but is will be a long exciting ride!

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