Edited by Matthew Reason, Lynne Conner, Katya Johanson and Ben Walmsley.
Without an audience there is arguably no performance. Yet for a long time the serious and systematic study of audiences to live performance has been a comparatively neglected area of research. Over the last two decades this has slowly changed, as an interest in audiences from a diversity of disciplinary and methodological perspectives – including empirical research, the social sciences, neuroscience, cultural policy, cultural studies, marketing and audience development – have increasingly brought audiences (as subjects rather than merely objects) to the forefront. There is now a broadly accepted understanding that if we are to take audiences seriously then we need to engage in rigorous and multi-dimensional research that considers audiences contextually and historically, through both qualitative and quantitative empirical research, and places them within appropriate philosophical and socio-cultural discourses.
This collection sets out to do this. As the first major Companion in the area it will represent a truly multi-dimensional exploration of the inter-relationships between audiences and performance. Ultimately, the collection wishes to mark the point where audiences have become central and essential not just to the act of performance itself but also to theatre, dance, opera, music and performance studies as academic disciplines.
The Companion will be organised into four sections:
Part 1: Histories, Theories and Cultural Interrogations
Part 2: Policies, Politics and Audience Practices
Part 3: Methods, Methodologies and Understanding Audiences
Part 4: Shorts – Adventure in Thinking About Audiences