Capturing Audience Response

Recently I have been running Category 3 IB Theatre training that focused on the Collaborative Project. During the training, my teacher participants worked as small devising companies developing their own approaches to developing theatre and then performing their work to determine if they had achieved their intentions and intended impact. This blog will list all the ways that they gathered audience feedback to evaluate their impact on the audience. I hope that you will find this useful and have time to try a few of them out:

  1. Three words (written): Hand out post-it notes after the show and ask the audience to write down three words—things they remember that they heard or ideas that were evoked.
  2. Two questions (spoken): The actors asked the audience two questions after the piece and asked volunteers to answer them. The questions were ‘What relationships did you observe?’ and ‘What resonated with you?’—obviously, the questions will change depending on the intentions of the piece.
  3. The senses (filmed): After the performance, the actors came amongst the audience with cameras and filmed the audience completing the three sentences: ‘I saw…’, ‘I thought…’, ‘I wonder…’.
  4. Think, pair, share (spoken): Think alone what you will take away from the piece, share this with a partner, share with another pair. Share one idea you all have in common.
  5. Create a pose (practical and filmed): After the play has finished the audience members go and stand in the performance space and take up the position of the moment that had the most impact on them. They verbally explain why.
  6. One question (written): One question was asked before the play started, and the answer written down. Once the play was over the same question was asked, and this was written under the first answer. Papers were then collected.

For some more ideas about how to gather evidence of audience impact look at the following:

The TSM Activity 10 in Task 4: The Collaborative Project on the OCC

Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process (CRP)

‘Capturing the Audience Experience: A Handbook for the Theatre’, TMA (Theatrical Management Association), the Society of London Theatre

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