•  Project Client:
  • Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment

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The study, conducted with BuroHappold Cities Consulting, calls attention to the vibrance of the small theater community, and offers an in-depth portrait of the size, makeup, location, overall cultural importance and economic impact of the sector; as well as the challenges the industry is facing. The study found 748 venues and organizations, responsible for $1.3B in economic output, 8,400-plus full-time jobs and $512M in wages.


Project Context:

With a new mandate to expand initiatives in the theater industry, the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment sought a team to develop the first in-depth study of the New York Theater ecosystem that builds an understanding of the evolving industry, captures the cultural and economic impact, and highlights areas of opportunity for future investment and growth strategies.

Project Approach:

In collaboration with BuroHappold Engineering, 3×3 conducted qualitative research to capture the complexity and impact of an industry that is largely composed of small organizations operating in semi-formal, flexible, or informal manners. The economic impact analysis led by BuroHappold was supported with over 20 interviews and 2 round tables with over 40 participants to understand the needs and challenges of operating a cultural organization in NYC, capture community, cultural, and economic impacts of the theater, understand barriers faced by the industry, and identify growth opportunities. Workshops with City stakeholders were held to collaboratively interpret the findings. 

Activities included: Interviews, Landscape assessment, surveys, focus groups, community engagement pop-up events

Project Outcomes:

A resulting sixty-page report, designed by 3×3, was developed that highlighted the rich history and definition of the industry, overall cultural and economic impact, revenue generation and expenses of the industry, industry support and challenges, and recommendations for investment and growth strategies. Visually compelling infographics and charts were used to make the report easy to read and accessible to not just City stakeholders, advocacy organizations, but a general audience.

Image Credits and Captions:

  1. Apollo Theater –We Shall Not Be Moved; Bill T. Jones (director); Daniel Bernard Roumain (composer); Marc Bamuthi Joseph (libretto); Lauren Whitehead, Kristin Chávez (pictured)
  2. Clubbed Thumb – Men on Boats; Jaclyn Backhaus (playwright); Will Davis (director); Elke Young (photographer)
  3. Fitting for the world premier of GIRLS by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins at Yale Repertory Theatre; Mary
    Zihal (draper), Montana Levi Blanco (costume designer)
  4. Round table interactive sessions (3×3)
  5. Round table interactive sessions (3×3)