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Theatre Audiences and Perceptions of ‘Liveness’ in Performance

Reason, Matthew (2004) Theatre Audiences and Perceptions of ‘Liveness’ in Performance. Participations: Journal of Audience and Reception Studies, 1 (2).

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Abstract

That theatre is performed live is central to its definition, particularly in contrast with non-live performances on film or television. Yet, despite the centrality of the issue, there is little qualitative research asking whether there is indeed a distinct nature to the experience of live performance. This paper employs techniques of discourse analysis to explore empirically originating understandings of how live theatre is constructed as live by audiences today.

The paper first establishes its contextual background – examining prominent challenges to conceptualisations of liveness and looking at possible relationships between language and experience – before describing and analysing the findings of a small‑scale exercise in audience research. Through participant‑directed discussions, the paper reveals the centrality of shared memory, awareness of the human performer and sense of the audience to the experience of theatre and asks to what extent these represent the articulation of a distinct perception of liveness.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
School/Department: School of Performance & Media Production
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/912

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