Crowdsourcing from the house

Stage, are you there? It’s your audience calling…and they want to be more involved.

It’s true. Traditional “sit-‘n-smile” audiences may be going the way of the Apple Newton. The collective talents and personalities of the audience are informing productions as much as the creative teams are informing the house. Theatre as a platform or playground, if you will. In fact, the Tokyo Performing Arts Market will be hosting several such theatrical companies that are including the audience participation as part of the spectacle itself.

Want to see how this plays out? Look no further than Stoke Newington International Airport’s Live Art Speed Dating:

Next To Normal Twitter Feed

Is this collaborative effort just a fad? Curator Andy Field of the British Council would tend to disagree. “[Interactive performance]…is not a genre. This is not a niche.” We don’t have to look across the pond to see iterations of audience/creative team collaboration. Broadway’s Next To Normal is the perfect example: Twitter feeds devoted to characters and a social media contest that led to the creation of a new song. Tangible results that the times…they are a’changing.

Still a nonbeliever? Consider Guitar Hero, Rock Band, mobile gaming, Metropolitan Museum of Art Scavenger hunt…just to name a few. Audiences/viewers/spectators are increasingly interacting with their favorite pieces of art. Theatre is going to be a part of this, and Tony And Tina’s Wedding can’t be the only cake on the table.

Will this bring challenges and failures, as well as successes? Yes, but that’s what the dynamism of theatre, or art for that matter, is all about..and we’re at the (pardon the pun)…eve.

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Chad Miller
Events and Outreach

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About chadder

Cogito ergo blog.
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2 Responses to Crowdsourcing from the house

  1. zanzibarbeer says:

    Hi Chad,

    Thanks for mentioning our event. It is neither fad nor genre, we could call it a movement. We are artists exploring our form and audience, we necessarily want to see where the edges of theatre, game, play, and life converge. The interactive part is merely a different way to connect to our audience, to make them pay attention to what we are saying. What that is could be new, or could be the same old stuff about death, existentialism or conflict. That’s not to say that the content doesn’t matter, but it is often not a driver. The driver is the experience which depending on who you talk to, could be about reconnecting an audience to their role of being in the world, or ramping up intensity and action so there is no room for rationalisation, or foregrounding the existance and the collective power of that audience.

    Greg McLaren
    Stoke Newington International Airport

  2. chadder says:

    Greg, thanks so much for your post. I am very excited by the possibilities of being both an audience member and an actor in these kinds of collaborative communities coming together through the arts.

    The spontaneity and dynamism is something that is often missed on stage, and I answer your call that theatre is living…and a living audience taking an active part in that process is the movement that is happening.

    We look forward to following SNIA’s journey, and we invite you to keep us in the loop as well.

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