It’s time to raise the curtain

Jerusalemites are very fond of their theater.

Paying visitors and percent of subscribers in city theaters (photo credit: JERUSALEM INSTITUTE FOR POLICY RESEARCH)
Paying visitors and percent of subscribers in city theaters
The Khan Theater is the city theater of Jerusalem. According to the Pilat theater website, in 2015 it hosted 66,608 playgoers, who paid to attend any of 16 productions. It is a relatively small theater compared with Israel’s other city theaters. The Haifa Theater produced 22 shows, attended by 126,611 paying visitors; the Beersheba Theater produced 14 shows for 154,512 ; and Tel Aviv’s Cameri Theater produced 41 shows for a total audience of 844,151.
With the exception of the Cameri, which staged 1,478 performances, the total numbers of theatrical performances are comparable: the Khan had 302, Haifa had 339, and Beersheba had 396. It appears that the discrepancy in the numbers results from the size of the theaters’ main stages and the number of shows produced outside them.
In terms of the geographical distribution of performances, most performances produced by the Khan and Cameri theaters (73% and 72%, respectively) take place at the home theater. In contrast, city theaters located farther away from Israel’s center, which have smaller home-based audiences, have fewer performances in their own cities. The Haifa Theater held 54% of its performances in Haifa and its surrounding communities, while the Beersheba Theater held 46% of its performances in Beersheba and the Negev.
Of the theaters noted, the Khan has the smallest performance halls: its main auditorium seats 232, and its small auditorium seats 69 (a total of 301). The Haifa Theater has three auditoriums, with 160, 158, and 767 seats respectively (totaling 1,085 seats). The Beersheba Theater, whose main auditorium is the city’s center for the performing arts, has two auditoriums, with 430 and 885 seats (totaling 1,315). The Cameri has four auditoriums with 910, 414, 267 and 156 seats (totaling 1,747).
Thus, even when the Khan has a full house, its audience is about one-third the size of an audience at the Haifa Theater. The combination of a small auditorium and small number of performances outside the main auditorium explains the low number of attendees.
The small size of the audiences is not, however, an indication of public opinion: Jerusalemites are very fond of their theater.
For example, 42% of the paying theater guests at the Khan were subscribers with season tickets, compared with 24% of the audience members at the Beersheba and Cameri theaters and 19% at the Haifa Theater.
Similarly, the relatively low percentage of theater guests who attend performances using tickets sold to institutions indicates that Jerusalemites come to the Khan out of choice (48% had tickets that had been sold to institutions, compared with 64% for the Cameri, 66% for Haifa, and 72% for Beersheba).
Translated by Merav Datan.