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:
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.
Events and Outreach