Theatre for the Interactive Age: Participatory Site-specific Productions

By Jessie Randle.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Theatre’s connection to its audience is threatened by issues of accessibility: high ticket prices, an abundance of cheaper, more convenient, technological alternatives (television, movies, the internet), and, perhaps most importantly, lack of relevant content in a diverse world. Site-specific theatre-- theatre adapted to the architecture and/or landscape of pre-existing communal spaces-- serves as a possible solution for communities attempting to engage changing demographic groups with shared cultural experience. It provides alternatives to the traditional, passive theatrical experience by operating outside the bureaucracy of the theatre building, by encouraging an interactive audience, by providing sensory stimulation that in-home technology cannot, by utilizing public spaces and thus emphasizing community in the same vein as festivals and celebrations, and even by helping actors to understand their audiences in deeper, richer ways. Signifying a move from observational participation to curatorial and creative participation, site-specific theatre reminds its audience members that they are a part of a story, and that the story is, in turn, a part of them. It is capable of attracting diverse participants, including heterogeneous social classes and age groups, and providing innovation in a field that sometimes seems stagnant.

Keywords: Theatre, Theater, Performing Arts, Interactive, Interactivity, Participatory, Site-specific, Environmental, Site-oriented, Site-referenced, Site-conscious, Site-sympathetic, Site-responsive, Site-related, Community, Communitas, Liminality, Audience, Access, Accessibility, Relevance, Relevancy, Diversity, Public Space, Curating, Curatorial, Technology, Video games, Internet, Film, Pricing, New Generation

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 5, Issue 5, pp.83-94. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 609.334KB).

Jessie Randle

Public Relations Director, Communications, California Repertory Company, Orange, CA, USA

Jessie Randle is a graduate student at California State University, Long Beach, pursuing a dual MFA and MBA in Theatre Management, while serving as Communications Director for California Repertory Company. She graduated summa cum laude and with departmental honors from Chapman University’s Department of Theatre with an emphasis in Directing.


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