At a time when funding is increasingly competitive and people have more choice than ever about how and where to invest their energy, how do the arts to compete? It’s no longer enough to create exceptional work and know that people will line up to witness it. We’ve entered an emotion- and experience-based economy where consumers have more options than ever before, and are more critical about what they get from participation in return. So how do we harness the energy of these audiences and keep the arts running high on the list of things that people choose to attend? The Audience Experience addresses this by examining multiple factors that lead to audience enjoyment, growth and participation. While each chapter offers key insights into this area of scholarship, the strength of the book is in bringing these elements together. In doing so, the authors offer an account of audience participation as active, localised, varied and complex.
(Bicknell, Kath, review of The Audience Experience: A critical analysis of audiences in the performing arts, ed. by Jennifer Radbourne, Hilary Glow and Katya Johanson, Austalasian Drama Studies 65, (2014): 326-330.)
My early research work came from a fascination with audience-performer experiences in the theatre and on the sports field. When the opportunity came to review The Audience Experience, I was curious to discover what research had been carried out more recently.
Thinking about your audience is an important aspect of almost any work, yet it’s something people find hard to talk about in concrete ways. If you’ve ever wanted to be able to speak about an audience, or your market, in ways that extend beyond hunches, stats or demographics, this is a book worth tracking down for a read.
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