I have looked at engagements between audiences and contemporary devising practitioners namely; audiences as witness and participant, community and youth audiences, relating to audiences through technology and a little detour into my experience as a secondary audience member.
Throughout the trail I found a trend in a call for more audience research.It is widely acknowledged in Theatre Studies that the audience is central to performance and yet “… major books on the subject can be counted on the finger of one hand”(Balme, 2008: 34). Freshwater goes so far as to say that as audience response is a mine field of psychology and sociology there is; “… little incentive for researchers to invest the time and energy required to master the skills required to investigate audience response fully”.(2009:37) If the pre-existing studies on the audience are few in number how are we to study potential shifts in audience response to new trends in devising theatre practice? However there is on-going research, notably the qualitative audience research methodologies of Professor Matthew Reason at York St John University which explores the audience drawing their experience rather than relying on language when asked of a performance “What did you think?” (Reason, 2010)
To close, I hope you enjoyed the exploration of this research trail. I would like to re-emphasise the above call for additional audience research and finally I look forward to future experimentation in the audience -performer relationship.