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TOPIC: Simple Question

Simple Question 8 years 3 months ago #2175

  • ScenePartner
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A simple question, but nobody seems to know the answer:
How many times was Shakespeare produced last year (or any year)?
Since nobody needs to pay for rights, there is no central bookkeeping. Many people write about why Shakespeare is still so popular, but I have not spoken to anyone (or read any reference) that has any numbers to back up this "popularity".
I am not a doubter, I am sure every community theatre in the English-speaking world produces at least one Shakespearean play per year, many performing-arts high schools and colleges do one Shakespearean production every year, not to mention professional theatres that do Shakespeare exclusively.
Anyone can guess or estimate... but does anyone have any statistics or reliable numbers?

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks

David
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Simple Question 8 years 3 months ago #2176

  • William Shakespeare
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Our links section is a pretty complete list of around 260 theatres (amateur to professional) and associations worldwide that perform an average of 1-8 Shakespeare productions over the course of a year. Simple math deduces between 260-2080 productions and that's not counting the really small Shakespeare theatres or theatres that don't normally perform Shakespeare and decide to do a "one-off". So a pretty good educated guess may be in the realm of 3000-4000 productions a year worldwide, not including school productions, which would be impossible to count.
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Simple Question 8 years 3 months ago #2177

  • akfarrar
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Simple question my foot!

How many steps are taken in the world? How many leaves grow on trees? How many ...

As Shakespeare's answer makes clear - not a question without such a variable answer it makes it meaningless.

A few more variables to add - adaptations, extracts, compilations ...
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Simple Question 8 years 3 months ago #2181

  • William Shakespeare
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Just when I had the variables down, you go and add more... ! :P

I think it's clear that it would be impossible to count, but depending on what you're looking for, that estimate might be "good enough for government purposes.." If it's a question of figuring out how rich he'd be from all the royalties, let's just say he'd be doing pretty well. However, I'd argue that he wouldn't be as popular if rights were still a question. I believe it's a contributing factor to his popularity that shouldn't be ignored.
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Simple Question 8 years 2 months ago #2213

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Thanks for the replies!

@akfarar: I said simple question, not simple answer! If it was simple to answer, I would have figured it out myself.

@shakespeare: I like your methodology. I'm sure you're in the ballpark, and I'll use your reasoning in my estimates.

A lot of people say things like "it's impossible to know," but I don't believe that. Not only are these man-made events (not like counting leaves), but even small events are publicized because they want to get audiences. If there are advertisements and reviews written of even small productions online, the task is merely difficult, not impossible. I guess I have to wait for the next generation of Google and the "semantic web" to do that kind of data-mining, though.

Again, thanks for the help... if anyone else has estimates, facts or resources to help answer this question, I'm still listening!
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Simple Question 8 years 2 months ago #2214

  • akfarrar
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... to the simple question is innumerable.

:evil:

But I suspect that is not the question you really meant!

And your assumption of online information is suggestive of a western bias - Shakespeare is produced in some very strange places - even here in Romania I have experience of Shakespeare in a village setting, where the village doesn't even have a reliable electricity source, and doesn't have a mobile phone signal: No internet for 10 km.

:?

When the Globe Theatre in London doesn't even bother to publicise performances abroad (we have their travelling R&J here on Thursday) not much chance of cyber-space being all knowing.

:P
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