University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Engaging the Audience: A Comparative Analysis of Developmental Strategies in Birmingham and Leicester since the 1990s

Cochrane, Claire ORCID: (2012) Engaging the Audience: A Comparative Analysis of Developmental Strategies in Birmingham and Leicester since the 1990s. In: Critical Essays on British South Asian Theatre. Exeter University Press, Exeter, pp. 100-118. ISBN 9780859898355

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It is an obvious statement that live theatre cannot take place without an audience. This applies to all theatre but for professional building-based theatre so much depends on the willingness of the community to engage with the artistic product. Without this the theatre as a building dedicated to performance quite simply cannot survive and neither can the working professionals engaged in all aspects of the creative process. There is a particular problematic associated with regional producing theatre where often there is only one representative, producing venue which has to serve the very diverse urban community. Notoriously as the 2001 Eclipse Conference demonstrated, most mainstream producing theatres are largely ‘white’-run at senior management level but have nevertheless attempted to produce work which will attract audiences from Black British and British Asian communities. The result in experience which stretches back over some two decades has often been a refusal by these communities to engage with the ‘white’ space. Success has been achieved only when ‘audience development’ strategies have been based on the slow building up of trust and the promise of reciprocity in the visioning of an appropriate creative product. This essay will compare the strategies developed by Birmingham Rep and the Leicester Haymarket since the late 1990s to engage with local South Asian communities and examine the reasons for success and failure.

Item Type: Book Section
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Subjects: N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
Divisions: College of Arts, Humanities and Education > School of Arts
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Depositing User: Claire Cochrane
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2012 10:23
Last Modified: 03 Dec 2019 10:49

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