Saturday, February 06, 2010

TACT: Who Attends NCTC Auditions?

Every year, representatives from my department at the University of North Carolina at Asheville go to the North Carolina Theatre Conference to attend the high school theatre auditions. Most of the colleges and universities from across the state sent their representatives to recruit talented young people who are interested in theatre. We all sell our programs, and many of the private schools make scholarship offers on the spot.

I have been wondering about the demographics of this group of young people, who usually number around 100 plus or minus (this year, it was 84). So I gathered together the resumes of the auditionees and started crunching numbers. What I found is interesting in a lot of ways. What follows is a snapshot.

  • There are 100 counties in North Carolina; the auditionees come from 18 of them.

  • Two counties -- Mecklenburg and Forsyth -- provide 61% of the auditionees.

  • The median household income for NC in 1999 was $39,184; the median household income for Mecklenburg County was $60,608 (2nd in state), and the median household income for Forsyth County was $52,032 (8th in the state).

  • The average median household income for the 18 counties who sent students was $51,514.

  • Of the eighteen counties who sent students, only one was a county with a median household income below the median for NC; the two students from there attended a private college preparatory school.

  • Five schools provided 52% of the auditionees; three of them are schools for the arts.

  • 73% of the auditionees had some sort of arts training outside of high school; for the students who attended the arts schools, that figure rose to 91%.

  • 20% of the auditionees were people of color; of those, 76% were from Mecklenburg or Forsyth Counties.

  • Read more at the Theatre Arts Curriculum Transformation blog: http://www.theatretactorg.

Note: It's pretty bad when you can't get your own blog's URL right. The above URL has been corrected. Sorry!


joshcon80 said...

I have a dumb math question. When a statistic like this says that a number is the "median household income' does that mean it's the income earned by two working adults? Or a single person? just trying to figure this out.

Scott Walters said...

Not dumb at all - I asked the same thing myself. Household income is the amount of money earned by people over 15 years old who live in the same residence. It isn't quite the same as family income, which would be people related by blood or marriage, which would (for instance) not include a gay couple.

joshcon80 said...

It's just that 39 or 40k seems like very, very little for two adults. That's pretty bleak, no? Is it still so low?

Scott Walters said...

Well, remember those are 1999 numbers. We won't have official 2009 numbers until the 2010 census is complete. But I have encountered estimates for current figures that are higher, yes. Predictably, the counties that had higher figures in 1999 have increased more than those who were lower.

Scott Walters said...

Also, remember that duo-income families may be more prevalent in some counties than others. Rural counties, for instance, may be more likely to have only one income that comes entirely from the family farm, or from farm income plus one additional supplemental job.

joshcon80 said...


Think Again: Funding and Budgets in the Arts

Every once in a while, I think I'll post a link or two to posts written earlier in the life of Theatre Ideas that seem worth revisiting ...