Both to the show-makers and the audience themselves? Is it really the same as it has always been or do you see digital as changing the relationship? 

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I feel that the relationship is changing:  digital allows for far more immediate conversations about the work; but also digital is part of a general move (back) to interactivity in performance.  Immersive work, for example, isn't predominantly digital, but it is symptomatic of our interactive digital environment.  However, as this article suggests - this is perhaps a return to old ways - performance is historically far more interactive than we sometimes imagine.

Thanks for sharing the article John - nice to see that this dimension of story-telling is so topical. 

Love to hear folks thoughts on this...

Is the barrier to integrating digital into story-making just the same as the typical adoption of new technology? i.e. is the story-maker themselves an early adopter of tech. 

Would you classify NTW an early-adopter of tech within productions versus the rest of the theatre market? 

Hi Fergus - I think theatre has been adopting tech into productions since someone turned on an electric light on a stage, if not before.  More recently, I remember in the 90s much heartache about the role of video in theatre productions - but the early adopters such as the Wooster Group in New York - had been working intimately with video in performance since the mid 80s, so the debate often comes way after the real work has been done!  I think NTW's use of tech in performances has simply been a use of available tools.  However, where I think we broke new ground was in using a range of web 2.0 tools to define ourselves as a company and build a conversation around the work.  The interesting conversation going forward - and framed for us in projects such as The Beach, The Passion, and The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning - is how do web 2.0 approaches to creativity and decision making exist within productions too.  

Great discussion!  I noticed it a couple of weeks ago.  Apologies if I'm posting this in the wrong thread. 

Issues surrounding audience really interest me.  It’s great that this conversation is happening.  The danger with all art, let alone theatre, is that we, as artists, often get carried away with an idea and consequently widen the gap between ourselves and audiences.  It is the nature of the creative process.  But I think the issue boils down to one of accountability (that sounds horribly political! Sorry ;))

I’ve long believed we should look at it like this: They are not OUR audiences, we are THEIR artists.

Thankfully, as John says, theatre has become a lot more intermedial in terms of its presentation and engagement, digital allows for far more immediate conversations about the work.   However one thing concerns me.  I mention it here, not to disagree with anything, purely to fuel the debate:

I am 31 years old and based in York.  At York Theatre Royal we have a large Membership scheme.  The majority of our members are seniors and, on the whole, unaccustomed to/do not use digital media.  They don’t give emails or Tweet about performances etc.  They want a more “stereotypical” – let’s say “Proscenium” – theatre experience, 2 Acts and an ice cream at half-time. 

Let me be clear in my opinion, there is nothing wrong with this!

It’s what they’re used to, each to their own; we may not agree with it and/or be more willing to accept modern theatre approaches, but the danger is that we ostracise such demographics.  I suppose what I’m saying is, as we move theatre forward with digitalised audiences, we must not forget the large number of traditionalists who’s participation still offers a great deal to the development of new work.


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