Research Outline

Independent Theatre and Arts Collectives: Post COVID-19


To identify case studies of contemporary and historical examples where small to medium theatre/arts organizations have contributed to a paradigm shift within a market/society to create new opportunity.

Early Findings

United States

  • Independent artists, writers, and performers added $38.3 B to the US economy in 2017.
  • "In 2017, the production of arts and cultural goods and services in the United States contributed $877.8 billion, or 4.5%, directly to the nation’s GDP."
  • "One study found that performing arts companies, independent arts, writers and performers, and arts-related retail constituted the highest value contribution within the industry."
  • During the 2009 economic downturn, the Americans for the Arts website offered webinars and membership outreach tools to help arts organizations in the US.
  • Americans for the Arts gave policy recommendations in 2009 on how arts groups and artists can be supported in the economic recovery plan. They also offered additional resources to enable arts groups to remain fiscally healthy during the economic uncertainty and offered resources such as the Arts Funding Response and Readiness Kit, Action Fund, and the National Arts Marketing Project.
  • In 2008, the National Association for State Arts Agencies (NASAA) Executive Director, Jonathan Katz, "suggested that one way for arts agencies to adapt to the changing economic environment is to reconsider their mission and their management, communication and cultural leadership roles and to consider how best to provide public service during challenging times."


  • The 2008 financial crisis led to the development of outreach programs, such as the Greek National Opera (GNO).
  • "The GNO was very active in outreach as they organized free concerts for the public such as "The Suitcase Opera program, which aimed to bring the public in contact with famous opera works by performing them in non-mainstream venues and traveling outside Athens and in the periphery of Greece."
  • "One of the positive aspects of the crisis is that it shifted the attention to the community. On the micro-level, this has led to (mostly small-scale) cultural events, emerging as a reaction of the citizens to the negative atmosphere developed in the society as a result of the crisis and acting as vehicles of culture-making, self-expression, and social cohesion."
  • "The festivals and cultural events in touristic areas also serve as cultural ambassadors of the country, promoting its image abroad. Some examples are the Jazz in July festival in the town Vamos, the Dance Days Chania Festival, and the Giortes Rokkas Festivities, all on the island of Crete."


  • For the initial hour, we tried identifying as much of the requested information as possible. We were able to identify Greece as an example where small to medium theater/arts organizations have contributed to a paradigm shift within a market/society to create new opportunities. We also found some general insights on the response of art organizations in the US during the 2008 crisis.
  • We were also unable to immediately identify other similar cases studies where small to medium theater/arts organizations have contributed to a paradigm shift within a market/society to create new opportunity, however, we did find more insights on the response of some art organizations in countries during times of crisis (in general), we can continue this research path if this is of interest.
  • In the course of our research, we also came across general insights on independent performing arts in Europe, which might also be of interest.
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