Edited by Ruth Towse
Chapter 47: Performing Arts
Ruth Towse The term ‘performing arts’ covers a broad grouping of live art forms, only some of which have been researched in cultural economics. While orchestras, opera, ballet and spoken theatre have all featured in the literature on the subject, circus, puppetry and mime, among other live performance, have not. Popular music typically has been studied in relation to the music business and analysed as a mixture of live and recorded work, and popular musicals have had some mention, but on the whole, work on performed arts in cultural economics has concentrated on building-based, subsidized performance by arts organizations. In some cases, the organization could be that of a festival that brings together many different performances, or that concentrates on one art form, such as a theatre festival, or combines performing arts with other offerings, such as art exhibitions and talks. The performing arts play a significant part in the development of cultural economics due to the work by Baumol and Bowen (1966), which set the theoretical and empirical framework for research in this subject, initially in relation to the performing arts but later spreading to a broader range of topics. Their focus on rising costs in the performing arts provided the inspiration for much of the subject matter of cultural economics in the subsequent 30 or so years. Live performance in all art forms has some common features: production requires the input of highly skilled labour of a varied character that is delivered to an audience at a specific...
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