Joined Forces: Audience Participation in Theatre


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The nineteenth century was a century of actors. The twentieth century was a century of directors. The twenty-first century is a century of spectators. With Jacques Rancière’s The Emancipated Spectator (2009) being the most discussed theatre-related text of the last decade, there is an increase in scholarly and curatorial interest in the most mysterious, potentially dangerous and, in fact, most important participant of the performance, who stays silent, motionless, and hidden in darkness: the audience.

Similarly, artists desire to finally ‘meet the spectators’: to let them speak, get into a dialogue with them, invite them to involve themselves in pursuing the performance. To liberate the audience. Making theatre is always a political statement – asking about audience participation practices is asking about the possibilities of making changes both in art and in politics.

Joined Forces is comprised of four interviews and ten essays, case studies, manifestos and anti-manifestos by theatre makers, curators, critics, and scholars. They present various examples of audience participation in theatre linking them to problems of participation in democracy and to socially engaged art.

With contributions by:

Ophelia Patricio Arrabal, Elena Basteri, Lotte van den Berg, Roger Bernat, Justine Boutens, Anna R. Burzyńska, Adam Czirak, Johanna Freiburg, Helgard Haug, Stefan Kaegi, Tobi Müller, Dominique Nduhura, Antoine Pickels, Adelheid Roosen, Tom Sellar, Roberto Fratini Serafide, Jan Sowa, Bastian Trost, Miriam Tscholl, Tea Tupajić, Ana Vujanović, Daniel Wetzel, Wojtek Ziemilski.

Joined Forces is the third part of the publication series Performing Urgency, commissioned by European theatre network House on Fire.

House on Fire is supported by the Culture Programme of European Union.

House on Fire, Anna R. Burzyńska and Live Art Development Agency, 2016. 15.5 x 22.5cm, 199 pages, paperback with black and white photographs throughout.

ISBN 978-3-89581-427-3

Trade orders: Central Books. Find the details on Unbound Trade Orders and Distribution Information page.

Additional information

Weight 448.0 kg