Theatre & Audiences - DRAM9030

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Autumn Term 7 30 (15) Margherita Laera checkmark-circle


This team-taught module is intended to provide a basis of shared knowledge and understanding of theatre audiences to MA Drama students. The core subject of this module will be approached from various perspectives reflecting current available expertise in the Department. Lectures and seminar discussions on various theoretical and empirical approaches to audience research (including the study of audience responses as well as the identification of and marketing to an audience) will feature next to sessions about the histories of spectatorial practices and contemporary experimental theatre productions that engage audiences in particularly compelling ways (for example, participatory practices). Typically, there will be opportunities to discuss what audiences do, how they feel, and how their brain and body responds to theatre from various perspectives. Activities such as devising audience questionnaires to gather feedback from spectators in response to a specific production, and the reading of audience reviews in newspapers, blogs and social media will enable the cohort to question the supposed homogeneity of theatre audiences and to begin to think as theatre-makers about audiences in a nuanced, sophisticated way.


Contact hours

Contact hours: 36
Private Study hours: 264
Total hours: 300

Method of assessment

Main Assessment Methods:

Research Essay 4,000 words (60%)
Group presentation on audience research (40%)

Reassessment methods:
100% Coursework

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List:

Bennett, Susan (1997; 2013), Theatre Audiences: A Theory of Production and Reception. London; New York: Routledge.
Freshwater, Helen (2009), Theatre & Audiences. Basingstoke; New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Heim, Caroline (2016), Audience as Performer: The Changing Role of Theatre Audiences in the Twenty-First Century. London; New York: Routledge.
Hurley, Erin, (2010) Theatre & Feeling. Basingstoke; New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Kattwinkel, Susan (2003), Audience Participation: Essays on Inclusion in Performance. Westport: Praeger.
White, Gareth, (2013) Audience Participation in Theatre: Aesthetics of the Invitation. Basingstoke; New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Present sophisticated views of theatre audiences in all their heterogeneity, individuality and unpredictability
2. Articulate complex ideas about practices of spectating in Britain and Europe
3. Discuss different ways in which theatre-makers have engaged and interacted with audiences throughout history in Britain and Europe
4. Elaborate nuanced plans for identifying audiences, communicating with audiences and gathering audiences' opinions through qualitative methods
5. Confidently contextualise recent research approaches and developments of audience studies
6. Apply historical and theoretical knowledge on theatre audiences to theatre-making

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences
2. demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional or equivalent level
3. continue to advance their knowledge and understanding, and to develop new skills to a high level.


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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