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

Creative Doodle Book

Togetherness is an underlying principle of community arts, which values being with other people as we make theatre, music and art together. The lockdowns and social distancing required by Covid-19 … Continue reading

Routledge Companion to Audiences and the Performing Arts

Edited by Matthew Reason, Lynne Conner, Katya Johanson and Ben Walmsley. Forthcoming 2021. Without an audience there is arguably no performance. Yet for a long time the serious and systematic … 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

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

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 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

Routledge Companion to Audiences and the Performing Arts

Edited by Matthew Reason, Lynne Conner, Katya Johanson and Ben Walmsley. Forthcoming 2021. Without an audience there is arguably no performance. Yet for a long time the serious and systematic … 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

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

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

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

Young Audiences and Live Theatre

One of my earliest pieces of research into theatre audiences explored young people’s perceptions of liveness in performance. Theatre is frequently defined by its ‘liveness’: that is by how it … 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

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

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

Doodle Book (part 1)

The Doodle Book was developed through the course of 2019/20 in collaboration with Mind the Gap, artist Brian Hartley and a group of learning-disabled artists. The objective was to create … 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

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

Video Interview, Deakin University (Aus)

During a conference in Melbourne in March 2018, Anne Kershaw of Deakin University asked me to do a video interview for their PG arts management students. Questions: Tell us about … 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

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