Roar of the Crowd: A Conference on Theatre Spectators and Cultural Value (2014)

Roar of the Crowd:  A Conference on Theatre Spectators and Cultural Value
University of London, Malet Street
10.15 – 5.45, Saturday, 31 May 2014

Roar of the Crowd Conference Report available here.

Who goes to the theatre and why? What goes on in our heads (and hearts) when we get there? How do we relate what we see to our lives and the world around us? What do we remember later? What happens when we’re asked to join in?

The conference was the culmination of a research project (Theatre Spectatorship and Value Attribution) into how theatre spectators at three major British theatres think and feel about what they see, and what they retain of the experience over time. The conference included a report-back on this research, as well as panel discussions on what else we know about audiences (in theatre and beyond), how we assess cultural value, and the current trend to challenge the traditional barriers between performers and spectators in the theatre.

Speakers included Helen Freshwater, author of Theatre & Audience, and Liz Tomlin, co-founder of Point Blank and author of Acts and Apparitions: Discourses on the Real in Performance.

Panellists included ATC’s Artistic Director Ramin Gray; writer and performer Deborah Pearson (of Forest Fringe); the National Theatre’s Head of Audience Strategy, Rishi Coupland; Matthew Reason, author of The Young Audience; and Eleonora Belfiore, of the Warwick Commission on the Future of Cultural Value.

The conference was organised by a group of academics and playwrights (David Edgar, Chris Megson, Dan Rebellato, Janelle Reinelt, Julie Wilkinson and Jane Woddis) who mount conferences and seminars and undertake research. Both the research project and the conference were financed by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, as part of its project on Cultural Value.