Sort by *
30 May 2022
Public thematic report
Since its creation, the Ministry of Culture has pursued a policy of support for the performing
arts, aiming to encourage artistic creation, to provide broad access to theatres, music,
dance, circus and street arts throughout the country, and to develop and diversify
audiences. The Ministry’s action is conducted through a wide variety of intervention
methods, without equivalent abroad. The policy relies on major national operators, as well
as on a series of “labelled” (accredited) venues and netw
orks: in 2019, 10 labels distributed
among each of the disciplines together covered more than 300 establishments and
organisations throughout the country. To this should be added the many grants for more
than a thousand companies, nearly 200 artist residencies and 150 festivals. The survey
published today by the Court of Auditors focuses on the structural changes in the policy
implemented by the Ministry of Culture up to 2020. It notes that although it today accounts
for a minority share of the financing for this sector, the Ministry still plays a key role, but
under conditions that require changes in the organisation of its action. Furthermore, it notes
that although currently very abundant, the range of shows - which its support policy helps
to develop - is struggling to achieve its objectives in terms of democratisation and
The Ministry of Culture remains a key player in a dynamic sector
The performing arts benefit from significant public funding from the State and, increasingly,
from local or regional authorities. While financial support by the Ministry of Culture remained
stable between 2011 and the beginning of the pandemic (€766m for creation and cultural
action in 2019, compared to €839m in 2020 in the context of the pande
mic), funding from local
and particularly from municipalities
has increased since 2015 to reach at least
€2.47bn in 2019. Though not included in the budget, the intermittent
employment scheme is
one of the complementary aspects of this ecosystem,
with at least €450 million in allowances
paid in 2017 to intermittent workers in the performing arts alone. The growth in activity was
dynamic up to 2020, resulting in an abundant supply of shows and performances. However,
this sustained growth appears difficult to regulate since its main factors
which are the
responsibility of the local authorities or the social partners under the aegis of the government
for the intermittent regime
are, for the most part, outside the scope of the Ministry of Culture.
People in the entertainment industry who vary between periods of employment and unemployment
An increasingly articulated policy, which nevertheless requires the readjustment of missions
within the Ministry
Tools for managing quality labels and contracting with partner local authorities have been
consolidated by the law of 7 July 2016 on the freedom of creativity, architecture and heritage
(known as the LCAP law). The rules for the appointment of the managers of these
establishments and organisations have also been improved. Thanks to these means of
intervention, although local authorities now provide nearly three quarters of funding for the
performing arts, the Ministry of Culture continues to be a driving force, particularly in terms of
artistic creation. However, the central government does not have the tools needed to collect
and use data
on the activity, resources and results of the establishments and bodies
would enable it to implement its action in a better informed manner. Similarly, the crucial role
of the Directions Régionales des Affaires Culturelles (DRACs - Regional Offices of Cultural
Affairs) in the implementation of the performing arts policy at a regional level should also be
better promoted by the Ministry, within the framework of renewed network management and
better prioritised strategic guidelines.
Insufficient results with regard to the objectives of democratisation and dissemination
Despite sustained efforts and increased funding, the cultural democratization and audience
development objectives pursued for more than 60 years appear to have enjoyed only limited
success. In particular, the policy of achieving inclusiveness in and through culture needs to be
better interfaced with other public policies, such as national education. Another weak point is
the poor dissemination of shows and the difficulty in increasing the number of performances:
some productions receiving public funding are very poorly distributed, mainly due to support
systems focused on the renewal of creative output. The Court emphasises that changes in
production, programming and dissemination methods, as well as in regulatory frameworks and
practices, must be undertaken, and that only a holistic approach
in conjunction with the
Regional Offices of Cultural Affairs (DRACs) and all the partners concerned (the State, local
authorities, accredited and non-accredited venues, companies, etc.)
will make it possible to
bring about the desired changes.
Read the report
Emmanuel Kessler
Director of Communications
+33 (0)1 42 98 55 62
+33 (0)6 62 48 07 81
Julie Poissier
Head of Press Relations
+33 (0)1 42 98 97 43
+33 (0)6 87 36 52 21
Cour des comptes
Cour des comptes