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 descriptions of experiences of individuals who attend the theatre, which was gathered mainly through online questionnaires, interviews, and creative workshops. We also tapped memory by asking some subjects about a performance they saw one year or more ago. The research examined 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.
This project was led by the University of Warwick, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), and was carried out in 2013-14 in collaboration with Royal Holloway University of London, Manchester Metropolitan University, and the British Theatre Consortium. Professor Janelle Reinelt (Warwick) was the principal investigator; Professor Dan Rebellato and Senior Lecturer Chris Megson of Royal Holloway, and Senior Lecturer Julie Wilkinson of Manchester Metropolitan were co-investigators. The playwright David Edgar was consultant to the project and Dr. Jane Woddis was Project Manager–all are members of the BTC. In addition, the project had three theatre partners: the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Young Vic, and the Drum Theatre in Plymouth, who facilitated this research.
During the research stage of the project, members of BTC wrote blogs about our own particular interests in the project, our own trajectory, personal associations and the way it connects with our other research and/or creative practices. The themes encompass theatre and value; theatre and memory; why we go to the theatre; what it’s like going to the theatre; the aftermath of seeing a performance; measuring value; the effect of time on memory; the way our experiences of theatre blend in and intertwine with our lives and our other values; what theatre means to us and whether that meaning has changed; whether we dis-value theatre for any reason; what we can we do that enhances theatre’s value.