I am currently exploring the art of documenting theatre and whether the essence of a performance can be done justice when it is filmed or photographed. The possibility of recording theatre through different medias has rarely been explored and I'm looking to see if there is a new route that could be taken for certain shows. I have heard of performances were traces are the show are left behind as a reminder but is a show truly a fleeting moment in time or should there be a way to show the hard work that has been put into a piece? 

I was wondering if I could please hear of your experiences, your thoughts, or if you have heard of any shows that have found new and interesting ways to document their work? 

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this topic.


Bethany Seddon

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Hi Bethany,

It's a difficult one as there's always a tension between the need to document/ record/ preserve and the liveness or ephemerality of the theatre event. 

Zecora Aura are working on capturing audience responses as a way of documentation - The Audience as document .

Helen Cole's We See Fireworks is a performance/ installation made entirely of audience memories of performances. Durining documentation into performance.

There has been a move recently, partly fueled by technology, to use audience responses through vox pops, or tweets, or blogs as a way to record document the event in a separate medium, rather than trying to capture the performance itself. 

Having said that I love a good production shot - and whilst videoed performance is never the same, I feel like I have a much better understanding of Grotowski from watching videos in a university library, than i got from just reading a review or theoretical writings.

Best of luck with your exploring. Let us know how you get on.







Also an interesting model is Forced Entertainment's Imaginary evidence http://www.forcedentertainment.com/page/3043/Imaginary-Evidence-CD-...

HI Bethany I have just worked as a Documentor - we will have to catch up and I can tell you about the process I went through x
Hi Bethany there is a lot of discussion about this with Theatre Design in mind. There was a blog a while ago on the Guardian site which was about brilliant set design. The photos used to illustrate the article were primarily that of the actors as these are they tend to get photographed rather than the whole set and they are used to sell the show.
There was also a discussion early on in the NTW comunity history about Marketing , posters etc which touched on your discussion . I will see if I can find a link

Thanks for all your input you lovely people, its been brilliant! If you do find that link Guy that would be amazing, but will have a search myself. Will keep you updated as I explore my research further but atm I am collecting as much as possible :)



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