Theatre and Audience

Theatre and Audience

by Lois Weaver, Helen Freshwater


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What does theatre do for – and to – those who witness, watch, and participate in it?

Theatre& Audience provides a provocative overview of the questions raised by theatrical encounters between performers and audiences. Focusing on European and North American theatre and its audiences in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, it explores belief in theatre's potential to influence, impact and transform. Illustrated by examples of performance which have sought to generate active audience involvement – from Brecht's epic theatre to the Blue Man Group – it seeks to unsettle any simple equation between audience participation and empowerment.

Foreword by Lois Weaver

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780230210288
Publisher: Macmillan Education UK
Publication date: 07/15/2009
Series: Theatre And
Edition description: 2009
Pages: 80
Product dimensions: 4.30(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.30(d)

About the Author

HELEN FRESHWATER is RCUK Research Fellow in Theatre Studies, Birkbeck College, University of London, UK.She specializes in twentieth century British theatre and contemporary performance, and is the author of Theatre Censorship in Britain: Silencing, Censure and Suppression.

Table of Contents

Series Editors' Preface.- Foreword; Lois Weaver.- Difficulties of Definition.- Models and Frames.- Suspicion, Frustration and Contempt.- Potent Orthodoxies.- Playing with the Audience.- Further Reading.- Index.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

a brilliant series...these mini paperbacks each give an insightful, focused overview of a key topic...start collecting now.' -

'...Palgrave Macmillan's excellent new outward-looking, eclectic Theatre& ... series.These short books, written by leading theatre academics, do much to reintroduce some of the brightest names in theatre academia to the general reader. Plus, the matrix of references to bigger books soon builds quite a comprehensive catch-up reading list for those of us who graduated more than a decade ago and are interested in where contemporary thinking is at...'- Guardian Theatre Blog, September 2009,

'A thoroughly engaging read' - Susan Bennett, University Professor, Department of English, University of Calgary, Canada

'This book is about us. It documents our presence, articulates our position and questions our experience as casual on-lookers, silent witnesses, engaged spectators, willing participants, in this glorious activity called audience. See for yourself.' - Lois Weaver

'My eye was also caught by Helen Freshwater's Theatre& Audiences, which picks apart the way critics, academics and practitioners describe audience reactions as monolithic, and wonders why theattrical theorists often regard the audience with 'a complex mix hope, frustration and disgust'.' - Plays International

'For those of us interested in the knotty paradoxes that sit at the core of theatre's meta-theatrical truth-effects – an ethics that is no longer ethics, a politics that is political for how it is yet to be imagined, an idea of the human that displaces itself the moment it is performed – these pithy glimpses at the enigma of what theatre might be doing when it does itself well are timely engagements with some of the twenty-first century's most pressing philosophical preoccupations.' - Review of Theatre & series, Performance Paradigm

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