WHAT IS THIS PROJECT?
‘Theatre Spectatorship and Value Attribution’ is a research study looking at how theatre audiences value the experience of attending performances. The focus is on the self-reported description of experiences of individuals who attend the theatre, which will be gathered mainly through online questionnaires, interviews, and creative workshops. We will also tap memory by asking some subjects about a performance they saw one year ago.
WHO IS LEADING THIS PROJECT AND WHO IS INVOLVED?
This project is led by the University of Warwick, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), and is carried out in collaboration with Royal Holloway University of London, Manchester Metropolitan University, and The British Theatre Consortium (BTC), a small think-tank of academics and artists. Professor Janelle Reinelt (Warwick) is the principal investigator; Professor Dan Rebellato of Royal Holloway and Lecturer Julie Wilkinson of Manchester Metropolitan are co-investigators. The playwright David Edgar is consultant to the project –all are members of the BTC. In addition, the project has three theatre partners: the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Young Vic, and the Drum Theatre in Plymouth, who are facilitating this research.
WHAT ARE THE OBJECTIVES?
•To explore audience experiences of attending theatre productions focusing on phenomenological self-description and analysis.
•To understand how specific theatre experiences are valued (or not) by audience members.
•To identify associational networks of experiences that together with theatre attendance give rise to value attribution.
•To question the difference time makes to value attribution by gathering data just after the theatre experience, two months later, and in relation to an experience at least a year before the present study.
•To vary the methods used: quantitative and qualitative methods; social media platforms (Facebook and Twitter) ; self-reflexive dialogic interaction and creative writing.
•To run a study that could lead to long-term longitudinal research of viewing practices and value attribution over a three to five year period.
The research examines how individuals process the cognitive and affective experience of seeing a theatre performance in relation to their context (location, identity, and moment-in-time), their previous theatre histories, and their associational networks.
WHAT IS THE PROJECT TIME-LINE?
The research will be carried out in the next nine months, culminating in several open public events to discuss the research findings in May 2014. WATCH THIS SITE FOR INFORMATION AND UPDATES ON THESE EVENTS.