Top 4 Theatre KPIs to Track Your Performance

Posted on 10th August 2017 in KPIs

Written by Freya Hughes

Theatre plays an enormous part of our cultural history, especially here in the UK. From Shakespeare’s Globe in London, to the annual Edinburgh Fringe, we’re spoilt for choice across the country. While we enjoy the shows, you’re behind the scenes making sure it all happens. So to make your life a bit easier, we’ve put together our top four theatre KPIs. The show must go on!

With Edinburgh Fringe just around the corner, we thought we’d have an in-depth look at the KPIs that drive the arts forward. An industry with so many things to manage, theatres need a watchful eye presiding over them.


Don’t forget to swing by our KPI Library after the show. We also have industry-specific KPI lists available for you to enjoy.


1. Average ticket price

Working out the average ticket price per show during a particular period will give you an idea of the cash coming into your theatre. If your ticket prices vary, obtaining a mean average will give you a good basis to predict your revenue for that period. Measuring this metric will allow you to see how prices might alter throughout the year or season. Viewing this alongside your volume of ticket sales, and the gross profit you are returning per event, can also give you a great idea of how your company is really performing. This will then allow you to review your pricing strategy.

If you’re averaging lower than expected, it may be time to look at who you’re booking for shows. Are the performers no good? Is the play itself uninspiring? Are people not returning because of a bad experience? You need to ask yourself these difficult questions to get a handle on how to improve. If you’re averaging a high number, this is usually a good thing. However, ensure the prices aren’t too high, otherwise you may find sales figures fall, leaving you out of pocket. Calculate your average ticket price here.

2. Revenue per seat

Calculating how efficiently your team are translating your seats into cash is crucial. You need to be selling each seat at a fair, but profitable, price – otherwise you’ll be losing space and the cash that accompanies it. Closely linked to your average ticket price, you need to keep on top of how much you’re charging.

A low revenue per seat may not be a problem, but if it’s combined with a low seat occupancy then your theatre may well feel the pinch. Is your marketing not doing your business justice? Are you targeting the wrong audience? Do the performances reflect the ticket prices? Consider how your demographic would spend their money if not on one of your shows, and entice them in. If you need to, think about offering a deal with tickets, such as a half price drink with a purchase for a limited time. This will prick up the ears of many a customer, and will likely get you plenty of referrals, too. Learn to calculate your revenue per seat here.

Shakespeare’s Globe theatre in London

3. Wages to revenue

You must measure the amount of revenue created against your wage expenditure. Theatre is notoriously seasonal, and there are undeniable quiet spells which will impact your bottom line. You need to be aware of when these spells might crop up, so you can write up your staffing rota appropriately. It’s better to over-staff than under-staff, as you never know when something could go catastrophically wrong. However, ensure you’ve got the lower-paid members on if you’re not sure how a night will go. When you’ve got tickets left on the door, it may be tempting to not fully staff your theatre, but you must keep in mind issues that could arise.

If your staff are all on similar wages, this is a great way of obtaining an average of how your team are performing. If this ratio sees more revenue that wage expenditure, you’re on the right path. If it’s the opposite, it’s time to look at how things can be improved. Find out more about your wages to revenue ratio here.

4. Wet sales gross profit

Wet (drink) sales are a huge part of any performance. We all know how busy a bar can get in an interval! You need to be measuring this KPI to calculate how effectively this revenue stream is contributing to your bottom line. The fact we’re looking at the gross profit of your drinks sales means after associated costs are taken into account. Are you offering drinks people like? Are your staff quick and efficient enough to cope with demand? A low gross profit indicates that your costs are too high from suppliers for the price you’re selling each unit at. Learn more about wet sales gross profit here.


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