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As with previous years, the Contemporary Music and Musical Theatre categories represent the two largest categories in the industry, generating 34% and 23.8% of revenue, respectively. Combined, these two categories account for 57.8% of the Live Performance Industry in terms of gross revenue and 48% of total attendance. The top 3 revenue categories combined, which also includes Festivals (Single-Category), account for 65.4% of all industry revenue.
The most significant gains were experienced by Circus and Physical Theatre, Special Events and Comedy categories. The significant increases for Circus and Physical Theatre can be attributed to the return of major performances by Cirque du Soleil for the first time since 2013, with the exception of NSW in which Cirque du Soleil’s season of TOTEM opened in Sydney in October 2014 and closed in January 2015. Cirque du Soleil toured TOTEM in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth and QUIDAM in Canberra and Wollongong in 2015.
The Special Events category is particularly variable from year to year as it is dependent on whether performances that cannot be classified into other categories take place. The Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular, contributed to the strong growth in this category. Revenue and attendance growth in the Comedy category was due in part to the success of tours by internationally renowned comedians Billy Connolly and Dylan Moran who performed across the country in 2015.
There were significant declines in the Contemporary Music category with revenue falling by 21% and attendance by 13%, with performances in 2015 unable to match the growth recorded in the previous two years. Major international acts, such as Katy Perry, Bruce Springsteen, Bruno Mars and Eminem, whose successful national tours were a contributing factor to the high revenue and attendance results recorded in 2014, did not return in 2015. The decline in Festivals (Single-Category) can largely be explained by the cancellation of the festival Big Day Out in 2015. The annual festival ran from 1999 to 2014 in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and the Gold Coast and its cancellation impacted significantly on total revenue and attendance.
There were also noticeable declines in the Theatre category in both revenue (43%) and attendance (24.5%). Although the subsidised sector experienced strong growth in revenue and attendance at AMPAG events, there was a significant decline in the number of commercial theatrical productions throughout the year. Large commercial productions, such as Mrs Brown’s Boys, that generated strong revenue and attendance in 2014, did not return in 2015.