Task 4d (Part One): Literature Review

I have begun collecting literature that I feel may help me in my proposed line of inquiry: using 'Delicious' I have started tagging online resources that have relevance to my intended research.

Screenshot of the links page on my Delicious account

I have found several useful documents and websites detailing audience viewing trends that will help me to understand more about that strand of my enquiry, and I have a professional contact working for a major London theatre who can assist me further with this area of research.

I have several books about Dramaturgical practice and Theatre theories, and I will use this literature to assist me with the understanding of my intended career route.


Some of the books I have read recently or am currently reading

Now I'd like to try and find some resources that will help me to understand the connection a piece of theatre can have with an audience. I intend to investigate the different impact of different styles of performance (i.e. proscenium stage vs. promenade production) and how artists or directors decide to stage a new piece of work to achieve the intended level of engagement.

I would also like to think more about how new stagings of established works can change an audience perception: for example, a company in London recently produced 'MacBeth' in parklands, using the park equipment as the castle, presenting The Witches as homeless people and having the audience follow the action around the park. This immersive experience allows for much more engagement with the audience than watching the same play presented on a traditional stage.

I am aiming to contact a couple of playwrights to discuss their aims when creating a new work: the message they would like to convey and their thought processes while working on a new production. I would like to find out if the reception for a new work has differed from their intention or suppositions: for example, I recently discussed on this blog the differing interpretations of 'Alice In Wonderland.' There is a new production about to be staged by The National Theatre, interpreting Wonderland as an online escape from the real world. Now this obviously wasn't the interpretation Lewis Carroll intended, or could have even dreamed of, so it is interesting that we can now view Wonderland as an online world given the new experiences of the audience who are able to identify with this interpretation. It would be fascinating to find out whether audiences take something different away from a production to what the creator originally meant by it, whether they feel this enhances or diminishes their product and whether it really matters to them that the audiences feel something other than they originally intended.

I am also hoping to find out more about the effect of advertising and promotion on the theatrical experience. Whether the way a show is advertised affects the audiences initial expectations; many posters advertising productions will use excerpts from reviews and 'star ratings': would a passer-by be more likely to go and see a work that is advertised this way, and will they expect more from the experience?

The same movie, advertised and presented very differently!
Image Source: moviepostershop.com

If anyone can point me in the right direction for existing literature or resources on these topics, I would be very grateful!


  1. I have just joined Delicious, I don't fully understand it yet but I like the idea of keeping all my useful links together.
    Your blogs are really interesting, I don't know much about Dramaturgy but it's great to hear more about it!
    I think marketing has a huge impact on whether someone would see a show and it is also generally aimed at a specific target audience too. My dad always reads reviews before seeing anything on stage and he wouldn't go if the reviews were bad so the second poster would definitely appeal to someone with that view point. I think it would make audiences have higher expectations though so might the audience be more likely to be disappointed? Marketing is something that I am very interested in and although my inquiry questions don't seem to be heading in that direction it's something i'd be interested to find out more about. x

    1. It's funny isn't it - advertising has such a huge impact on our perceptions of products or events; it would be interesting to see whether it has an effect on how we actually view a production - as you say, is it setting us up to be disappointed or do we watch the show through the effect of the five stars and perceive something as better than it actually is because the reviews have been so great?
      I'm reading a book about arts marketing at the moment and it is very interesting!
      Delicious took me a while to work out - I originally connected it to my Twitter which imported all my flippin' Twitter links! I went through all of them and deleted them, then disconnected from Twitter so it's *just* relevant, BAPP stuff on there rather than links to instagram pictures of my cats!


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