Matthew Reason



This site contains an portfolio of current and archived projects, which you can browse either below or via the menu to the left.

You can also find a complete list of publications.


Current Projects

The Young Audiences – Japanese Translation & New Forward

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of Kaori Nakayama, my book The Young Audience has been translated and published in Japanese (2018). To mark this publication the book has … Continue reading

Theatres of Learning Disability

Over the past decade the work of disabled performers in theatre and dance has received an increasingly high profile, wider audiences and presentation in established venues and festivals. At the … Continue reading

Projects Archive

A portfolio of research and practice in the areas of audiences, narrative, theatre and dance.

Watching Dance: Kinesthetic Empathy

The Watching Dance project used qualitative audience research and neuroscience to explore how dance spectators respond to and identify with dance. It was a multidisciplinary project, involving collaboration across four … Continue reading


Storyknowing describes a series of activities, workshops, articles and conferences explores how we know in and through story. For two years between 2013-15, the International Centre for Arts and Narrative … Continue reading

International Centre for Arts and Narrative

The International Centre for Arts and Narrative (ICAN) is a collaborative project between York St John University and York Theatre Royal. The focus of ICAN is to develop research and … Continue reading

Researching with plasticine

Does giving children plasticine help when interviewing them about watching dance? I have previous used visual arts workshops with groups of spectators to explore their experiences of dance and theatre. … Continue reading

5 Soldiers Audience Research

5 Soldiers, by the Rosie Kay Dance Company, is a contemporary dance performance that looks at how the human body remains essential to war, even in the 21st century. In … Continue reading

Theatre Pages

Theatre Pages is a (maga)zine produced by staff and students on the theatre and drama programme at York St John University. Launched in 2011 and produced three times a year … Continue reading

Interactive Mind Map

Qualitative audience research frequently produces large amounts of unruly data. For myself the process of beginning to make sense of or find routes through the unordered mass of material that … Continue reading

The Young Audience: Exploring and Enhancing Children’s Experiences of Theatre

Trenthem Books 2010. “This inspirational book, that cares passionately about the child’s gaze, should be welcomed and cherished.” (Tony Graham Artistic Director, Unicorn Theatre) “…a colourful and fascinating account of … Continue reading

The Young Audiences – Japanese Translation & New Forward

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of Kaori Nakayama, my book The Young Audience has been translated and published in Japanese (2018). To mark this publication the book has … Continue reading

Archive, Empathy, Memory

Archive, Empathy, Memory: The Resurrection of Joyce Reason   This paper uses the prism of archival, ancestral research to consider the nature of our relationship to the lives of the … Continue reading

Drawing and Audience Research

Drawing is at once immediate, and yet takes time. The marks on paper – pencil, crayon, ink, pen – appear instantly, they are real and absolute, but the process as … Continue reading

Where in your body?

‘Where in your body?’ is a single question online audience research survey, piloted for performances of 5 Soldiers by Rosie Kay Dance Company and now also disseminated to Scottish Ballet … Continue reading

Documentation, Disappearance and the Representation of Live Performance

Palgrave, 2006 The documentation of practice forms one of the principal concerns of performance studies, provding an ongoing dilemma for theorists and practitioners alike who at once celebrate the ephemerality … Continue reading

Photography & the Representation of Kinesthetic Empathy

Matthew Reason with photographs by Chris Nash Photography has long been utilised as a medium that allows us to capture, see and reflect upon the world around us. This is … Continue reading

Resources for Schools and Teachers

As a result of the collaborative partnership with Imaginate, and developing from the research into how children watch theatre, two resources were produced designed to help school classes enhance their … Continue reading

Applied Practice: Evidence and Impact in Theatre, Music and Art

Applied Practice: Evidence and Impact in Theatre, Music and Art engages with a diversity of contexts, locations and arts forms – including theatre, music and fine art – and brings … Continue reading

Creative Writing and Audience Research

After watching a dance performance with friends we often leave the theatre and find ourselves asking each other, ‘What did you think?’ Or perhaps, alternatively, ‘Did you enjoy it?’ That … Continue reading

Kinesthetic Empathy in Creative and Cultural Contexts

Intellect, 2014 Edited Dee Reynolds and Matthew Reason A key interdisciplinary concept in our understanding of social interaction across creative and cultural practices, kinesthetic empathy describes the ability to experience … Continue reading

Talking About Theatre

Talking About Theatre consists of a series of booklets designed to facilitated children and young people’s post-show conversations about theatre and dance. Operating through a series of questions or instructions, … Continue reading

Experiencing Liveness in Contemporary Performance

Promotional slogan, mystical evocation, or marker of ontological difference? ‘Liveness’ in contemporary performance is a highly contested term. Experiencing Liveness in Contemporary Performance, edited by Matthew Reason and Anja Molle … Continue reading