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2021 Impact Report

Read the FAQs


Q: Why is the attendance figure so high at more than 470,000, given the Festival had reduced capacities this year?

This figure includes all attendance from the Festival’s diverse program of theatre, music, dance, literature and films. It also incorporates visits to free and visual arts events, including 238,000 attendances for Songlines at the new Western Australian Museum Boola Bardip. The free Projections at City of Lights in Perth Cultural Centre had more than 58,000 attendances and Lotterywest Films 57,000. 

Q: How do you explain the economic impact figures? They seem very high compared with last year when Highway to Hell drew big numbers.

Festival attendances were larger this year than in 2020, due to the popularity of Songlines at the museum. This contributed to the flow-on audience expenditure of $19.1 million at $48 per visit outside ticket sales, up from $14 million in 2020. Also, the Festival spent a much greater proportion of its organisational expenditure in WA than in past years when its paid money to participating interstate and overseas artists and companies. 

Q: Can you explain how you measure the economic data methodology?

Impact Report analyst CultureCounts applies output multipliers to determine the flow-on impact of the Festival’s economic supply chain. The Total Multiplied Impact methodology uses the ABS Input-Output tables applied to the Australian National Accounts. 

Q: Why are the student outcomes for the Creative Learning Program between 21% and 27% lower than the previous year? 

Some 92% of the 7063 students and 279 teachers from 172 participating schools rated their Creative Learning experience as good or excellent, a small decline from the previous. However, the lower rates for experience, distinctiveness, skill development and stretching personal capacities were due to larger proportion of students responding with a neutral score in 2021 which brought the per cent agree figure down. 

Q: Why are average Festival audiences aged +50?

The Festival continues to develop new audiences across its program areas and is working to attract younger people to the Festival experience. Our contemporary music program attracts a lower age on average but this program was heavily reduced this year. We also were constrained in presenting a large-scale free public event such as Boorna Waanginy and Highway to Hell this year. The average age at Lotterywest Films was slightly higher this year.

Q: Isn’t the price of tickets too high? How do ticket prices compare?

Average ticket prices vary from year to year, depending on the nature of the shows in the program. Tickets averaged $30 this year and the five-year average (2017-2021) reveals an ATP of $34 for the Festival, about a third of the price of tickets to comparable shows offered by a commercial presenter.

Perth Festival is subsidised in this way to help make performances and events of international excellence as accessible as possible to diverse audiences. On average each year, about 30% of the Festival program is free to all audiences.

Q: How does Perth Festival support WA artists and the creative sector?

The Festival invests to develop WA talent that should be celebrated on the world stage. We are a not for profit organisation that raises money and works with WA artists and companies to create ambitious new works that they may not have the capacity to produce otherwise. We facilitate touring opportunities and build capacity with year-round activities behind the scenes, which flower at festival time. For nearly 70 years, we have partnered with grassroots arts organisations to fuel their growth. The Festival creates landmark WA-made public events (Boorna Waanginy, Highway to Hell, Projections at City of Lights) that provide skills, jobs and other opportunities for hundreds of people. Our Festival Connect Community Engagement and Creative Learning programs plug thousands of students, emerging artists, community groups and arts lovers into dynamic creative exchange opportunities with the best artists from around the world.

Q: What is Perth Festival’s operating model?

Perth Festival offers the most comprehensive fully curated arts program of any festival in Australia. It invites selected artists and companies to participate based on the vision of the Artistic Director (Iain Grandage). The Festival incurs all the costs and risk associated with this. All artists and companies, technicians and support staff are engaged by Perth Festival and fully paid. The Festival commissions and invests in new works to grow the WA arts sector. Away from the stage, Festival Connect celebrates everybody as an artist through the most comprehensive Creative Learning program of any major Australian arts festival. Perth Festival is subsidised to help make performances and events of international excellence as accessible as possible to diverse audiences. Many events are free and ticket prices are kept to a third of commercial rates. The Festival also specialises in large outdoor spectacles which are free to all visitors.

Q: Who produces Perth Festival?

Perth Festival is a not-for profit registered charity operating as a subsidiary of its founder, The University of Western Australia. The Festival’s purpose is to enrich the culture of Western Australia.

Q: How much funding does Perth Festival receive and what is the break-down?

Perth Festival is made possible thanks to the support of its Partners and Donors. In 2021, the Festival partnered with 33 organisations, collaborated with 19 in-kind supporters and received contributions from more than 1400 donors to help Western Australian artists and make a positive impact on our community. Funding from State and Local Governments totalled $8.6 million, including $7.3 million from Principal Sponsor Lotterywest. Other sponsorship and donation income was $1.9 million, plus $1.1 million in contra sponsorship.