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2013 Groundlings: some observations

This entry is part 11 of 11 in the series Facts & Figures

Voting in the 2013 Groundlings ballot has now closed. It’s been the most successful so far in the 4 years since the Groundlings Awards have been in operation with over one thousand shares on Facebook and almost as many votes collected through Survey Monkey.

Results were published on Friday 14th February – our traditional love day for those who’ve received the highest vote by popular acclaim in fourteen categories.

We thought you’d be interested in some of the other statistics and trends that we’ve extracted from the whole process.

Facebook was, by far, the most popular social network informant with word of mouth second and twitter coming third.

Many votes also came from those who had nominated or voted in the Groundlings before. If there is any doubt out there as to Facebook’s not being a force for promotion or marketing in Brisbane and for the theatre, this may put it to rest. You probably knew this, anyway.

The birth date range of voters extended from 1926 through 2000.

The first question – part of the compulsory demographic-gathering section of the survey – asked for a date of birth by year and this is where the breakdown of voters indicated some clear differences in voting patterns. We should mention that this section of the survey depends for its accuracy on truthful responses.  

The majority of ballots were submitted by the under-40s.

Could this be because the over-40s weren’t interested/didn’t get the message/don’t use social networks as much and/or that the under-40s were/did/do? Break the under-40s down further by separating out the under-18s, and further interesting trends show. By the way, we chose 1974 as the break-line because it’s usual when talking about theatre-goers to refer to the received wisdom that goes something like this: it’s after some years in the wilderness of career-building, mortgage-paying, and child-raising and around the age of 35-40 that once-active theatre-goers ‘return’ to the fold. Spurious maybe but out there. Companies may well have figures to affirm or dispute this though I do recall David Berthold telling me a couple of years ago that the audiences at La Boite were pretty much 35 and under.

The under-18s are keen voters in the Groundlings and you might surmise this is via fan-based support for companies whose work they attend through school visits. However, the voting patterns among the 20s and 30s are pretty much the same i.e., their taste and that of their younger companions are very similar in terms of their choices.

Not surprisingly, what emerges overall is the difference in taste expressed through choice between the over-40s and the under-40s, and that it was the voting from the under-40s which largely determined the outcome of the balloting in many but not all categories. In several they were in lock step all the way.

Voting was not first past the post but averaged out across nominees in a category, so second and even third preferences in some categories determined winners. It’s impossible to know whether voters took this into account when allocating their votes i.e., simply voted 1 for their favourite and let the numbers fall where they did elsewhere in a particular category.

Far more people voted than nominated and not everyone voted in every category.

Part of the reason we’re attributing to this year’s large numbers of voters – apart from the increasing popularity of the Groundlings – has to do with the decision we took to add two additional nominees in the majority of categories. We will probably continue to do this in the future as we continue to refine the nomination and voting processes.

Of those who eventually voted, the majority are not currently students enrolled in a performing arts course.

We did not ask whether voters had completed their secondary education.

The majority of voters self-identified as professional artists or creatives.

Of these, a whopping majority – approximately 91% – are not members of MEAA. This trend continues from previous years and is indicative, we suspect, of the falling membership in unions Australia-wide. We did not ask respondents to say why they are not members.

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