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Everyone Benefits from Theater-Going, Not Just The Elite

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What's the Latest Development?

A study recently published in Journal of Cultural Economics disproves the notion that theater-going is a hobby dominated by the elite. Researchers at a Spanish university presented English theater patrons with hypothetical scenarios and a mix of alternatives, including ticket price, the theater type, genre, repertoire, author, and reviews. For the study, they used discrete choice models that evaluate how people make decisions. Based on the responses, they were able to identify three distinct and separate classes of theater patrons and preferences.

What's the Big Idea?

The "working" class group seems to prefer comedies and non-professsional reviews, while the "intellectual" class favors dramas and keeping an independent opinion. The "well-off" class can go either way but are especially swayed by professional reviews. J.M. Grisolia, one of the study's authors, says that "these are the three ways in which theatre connects with society. Although it is seen as an elitist pastime, it also has a more popular side." As the legendary stage actress Stella Adler put it, theater "is the place people come to see the truth about life and the social situation."

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