On the Theater domain page we consider the position of workers in the sector and the number of performances and visits. Attention is also paid to inclusion, digitalization and financing. Within this domain the 'scenic performing arts', which also includes dance, opera and cabaret. Together with the domain Music Theater falls under the broader performing arts sector, see also the domain page Performing arts. 


The corona crisis has revealed several bottlenecks in the performing arts and cultural financing system. Free producers saw the biggest decline in their own income and sales. The vulnerable position of self-employed people in the performing arts sector was painfully exposed. The intended 'trickle down' effect of the support measures turned out not to be realised. In other subsectors, total turnover shrank less sharply due to the stabilizing effect of multi-year subsidies and the corona support received.

But not everything turned out to be negative. Theaters experimented with new options for online presentations in order to still reach audiences. And various supporting initiatives have been created to anchor diversity and inclusion in the sector. At the end of 2022, venues will face a new threat: the explosive increase in costs due to inflation and the energy crisis.

Introduction and key figures

Theater is a versatile domain within the performing arts. This domain is also referred to as the 'scenic performing arts', as dance, opera, music theater or cabaret and cabaret, for example, often do not identify with the term 'theatre' alone. Discussions with the field and research for this analysis show that it is difficult to find consensus on defining this domain. This is not only due to the number of disciplines, but also depends on how differently the working practices are organized per discipline. In addition, interdisciplinary collaboration and separation between disciplines make it difficult to make a clear demarcation. For the analysis of the Theater domain, the Culture Monitor assumes a field that includes all these scenic performing arts.

In the Culture Monitor we use the domain 'Performing Arts' in the database to collect various indicators. This was chosen because much of the available data on performing arts cannot (yet) be broken down into disciplines such as music or theater. In the domain analyses, a breakdown is made into Music and Theater, so that more depth can be given to the individual developments in these domains.

Professional performing arts

This visualization contains data on (1) the number of visits to professional performing arts by discipline, (2) the number of performances in professional performing arts by discipline and (3) volunteers in the performing arts (including trainees). For (1) and (2), these data exclude music, which is treated as a separate domain in the Culture Monitor.


Source: CBS

What else do we want to know about the Theater domain?

Impact corona
The numbers out Unequally affected, unequally supported provide some insight into the consequences of corona for the theater sector. However, there are still many questions, as research and conversations with the field show. For example, there is concern about the long-term effects of the corona crisis. What will politicians do? How will self-employed people survive now that trickle down is insufficiently achieved and the Tozo has disappeared, and how does that differ per region? What does the outflow from the sector look like; Have many people really changed professions, or will they return when the theater sector picks up again? There was already pressure on visitor numbers before the corona crisis, but what has happened since corona? Will the audience come back? And what consequences does this pressure on visitor numbers have for the programming? For example, is programming safer? What will take hold of all the online initiatives, and to what extent will the theater sector become more hybrid online-offline?

Audience research and data on impact
There are still many questions about audiences in the theater sector, especially with a view to reaching a diverse and inclusive audience from your own region in the context of the CDI. It is therefore necessary to bring together more audience research and figures from different stages, makers and companies. Data must also be consistent and comparable. To this end, the sector has established the Digital Information Platform for Performing Arts (DIP). Together with Cineville, CJP, Kunsten '92, Platform Acct and Rotterdam Festivals, DIP forms the Public Data Partnership Task Force. Under the leadership of DEN Knowledge Institute for Culture & Digital Transformation, research is being conducted into how knowledge and expertise about audience data in the culture sector can be increased.

What the theater sector would also like to know is what impact the sector has on society. On the page 'Culture and participation' we will further discuss the reach of and participation in culture, including the performing arts. The effects of digitalization and crises (such as the corona and energy crises as well as inflation) on participation are being investigated, but also who is most affected by this. We will continue to collect information about this in the coming years.

Want to know more about the Theater domain?

View more data about the Theater domain the dashboard of the Culture Monitor.

More literature about the Theater domain can also be found in the knowledge base of the Boekman Foundation.

A previous edition of the text on this domain page from November 2020 can be found here.


Beeckmans, J. (2019) 'New incentive prize for diversity and inclusion'. On:, September 4nd.

Beeckmans, J. (2020) 'The Need For Legacy Foundation founded'. On:, 8th of July.

Beerda, H. (2022) Future perspective on theater visits in times of corona; results of 1st examination. At: 

Berg, S. van den (2019) 'Adjust plans'. In: Theater yearbook 2019/2020, jrg. 141, no. 5-6, 4-5.

Bos, J. (2023) 'Theater halls well filled, but mainly with new young visitors'. On:, 12 January.

Brom R. (et al.) (2019) The state of culture 4. Amsterdam: Boekman Foundation, 36-41.

CBS (2022)'CBS introduces new population classification by origin'. On:, February 16.

Engelshoven, IK van (2019) Principles of cultural policy 2021-2024. The Hague: Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.

Engelshoven, IK van (2021) Request for advice on transgressive behavior in the cultural and creative sector. The Hague: Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.

Fair Practice Code (2021a) 'About the Fair Practice Code'. On:, nd

Fair Practice Code (2021b) 'Why the Fair Practice Code'. On:, nd

Fair Practice Code (2021c) 'Fair Practice Code'. On:, nd

Performing Arts Fund (2020) Policy plan 2021-2024: moving contours. The Hague: Performing Arts Fund.

Goudriaan, R. (et al.) (2021) Unequally affected, unequally supported: effects of the corona crisis in the cultural sector. Amsterdam/Utrecht/The Hague: Boekmanstichting/SiRM/Significant APE.

Groen, L. de (2020) 'Rosa Asbreek: “Something radical needs to happen”'. In: Theater yearbook 2019/2020, jrg. 141, no. 5-6, 44-49.

Haeren, M. van (2019) 'Money for interdisciplinary programming: interview with Pien Houthoff, director of LUX Nijmegen'. In: Boekman, jrg. 31, no. 121, 33-35.

Haeren, M. van and S. Roosblad (2022) Research Theater Inclusive: final analysis. Amsterdam: Boekman Foundation

Halouchi, S. (2023) 'The theater is increasingly full of new audiences'. On:, 8 January.

Heerikhuizen, B. van and J. Veenstra (2021) 'Frameworks and codes: theater school directors about crossing boundaries and blurring boundaries'. On:, 28th of June.

Heuven, R. van and R. van Rijn (2020) 'The corona crisis as a “perfect storm”'. On:, 13th of June.

Janssens, S. (2021a) 'Looking for a new intermediate form'. In: Theater newspaper Magazine, jrg. 141, no. 4, 26-29.

Janssens, S. (2021b) 'New development platform for immersive theater'. On:, 30th of April.

Janssens, S. (2022) 'Theaters desperately need extra energy support, but where is the money found?'. On:, September 23nd.

Knol, J. (2021) 'Digital is “here to stay”''. On:, December 6.

Arts '92 (2022) 'Task force letter: energy package for culture urgently needed'. On:, October 18.

Leden, J. van der (2021) Boekman Extra #27: Transgressive behavior in the cultural sector. Amsterdam: Boekman Foundation.

Lubberding, W. (2021) 'Theater programming 21-22: the effects of the pandemic will continue for at least another two years'. On:, 28th of June.

Luttels, N. (et al.) (2021) Analysis of corona support for NAPK members. Amsterdam: Dutch Association for Performing Arts.

Musters, R. (2023) 'Chassé Theater remains afloat despite high energy costs: 'The audience is back'. On:, 14 January.

NAPK (2022)'Establishment of the social safety performing arts foundation'. On:, February 14.

NAPK (2021a)'Kick-off program for the prevention of undesirable behavior in the performing arts'. On:, February 10th.

NAPK (2021b) Get to the floor safely. Amsterdam: Dutch Association for Performing Arts.

NOS (2022a) 'Where is the audience? The cultural sector has been struggling since corona'. On:, May 21.

NOS (2022b) 'Theaters and museums struggle with high energy prices, paying on average two to four times more'. On:, December 11.

Council for Culture (2020) Basic cultural infrastructure 2021-2024. The Hague: Council for Culture.

Council for Culture (2021) Corona addenda advice. The Hague: Council for Culture.

Council for Culture (2022) Across the border: towards a shared culture. The Hague: Council for Culture.

National Government (2022) '300 million to compensate high costs for municipalities and provinces'. On:, November 21.

Ruyters, D. (2020) 'Open Letters: the Dutch art world is too white – do something about it'. On:, 26th of June.

Santen, H. van (2022) 'Theater group ITA is canceling performances due to a lack of staff'. On:, November 25.

Schapendonk, N. (2022) 'Extreme scenario: 'Without support for gas and electricity, Chassé Theater will close in January''. On:, October 14.

Sherrer, K. (2018) 'What is tokenism, and why does it matter in the workplace?'. On:, February 26.

Theater Inclusive (2019) 'Theater Including: audience, staff, program and partners'. On:, nd

VSB Fund (2021) 'Art and culture'. On:, nd

VSCD (2021) 'Theatre sector virtually closed, damage is increasing'. On:, November 26.

VSCD (2022a) Stages 2021: annual figures for theaters and concert halls in the Netherlands. Amsterdam: VSCD.

VSCD (2022b)'These remain uncertain times for stages'. On:, September 8nd.

VSCD (2022c)'Every child goes to the theater, especially now!'. On:, September 29nd.

VSCD (2022d)'Stages in trouble due to explosively rising energy costs'. On:, September 15nd.

VSCD (2022e) 'Compensation for energy costs on stages is desperately needed!'. On:, 11 October.

Weerd, E. van der (2021) 'Unable to keep track – the impact of the corona crisis is difficult to document'. On:, October 25.

Wensink, H. (2022) Much fewer theater visits in 2021 compared to 2019, and recovery is not yet in sight. On:, September 8.

Wiley, H. and S. Rangoni (2018) Digital theatre: a casebook. Berlin: European Theater Convention.


In 2021 we spoke to the following people for the purpose of collecting information for the development of this domain page:

Accountability image

Show The Magic Mountain by ITA / Photography: Dim Balsem (courtesy of ITA)