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Visiting Scholar: Professor Janelle Reinelt

September 20th 2016 at 2pm and September 21st 2016 at 5pm

We were very pleased to announce that the inaugural keynote in our new Visiting Scholars Series was to be delivered by eminent scholar and past president of the International Federation of Theatre Research, Dr. Janelle Reinelt. 

Reinelt is an Emeritus Professor of Theatre and Performance at University of Warwick, and has published widely on politics and performance, receiving the ‘Distinguished Scholar Award’ for lifetime achievement from the American Society for Theatre Research (2010), and an honorary doctorate from the University of Helsinki in 2014. In 2012, she was awarded the ‘Excellence in Editing’ prize together with Brian Singleton for their Palgrave book series, Studies in International Performance. Recent books include The Political Theatre of David Edgar: Negotiation and Retrieval with Gerald Hewitt (Cambridge UP, 2011), and The Grammar of Politics and Performance with Shirin Rai (Routledge, 2015).  She has just co-edited a special issue of the Cultural Studies journal Lateral entitled ‘Leveraging Justice’, published online in autumn at

Casual Tea and Conversation

On September 20th 2016 at 2pm, there was a casual tea & conversation that included graduates and faculty from the Drama Centre and beyond.

Keynote Address: Studying the Spectator: What Can She Tell Us

The new wave of research and scholarly interest in audiences/spectators and reception studies is a valuable enhancement of our field, but like most academic research, it will only be valuable if it is targeted to address important questions and reported in ways that make the stakes clear. Reinelt put forward this argument using her experiences with an AHRC-funded empirical study on ‘Theatre Spectatorship and Value Attribution’ in 2013, and reviewing a number of publications which have appeared since. The relative merits of quantitative and qualitative methods was discussed as well as how to enhance or strengthen our approaches to researching reception. The lecture focused on three specific types of theatrical event (fact-based, autobiographical, and immersive performances) and inquired into the relationship between these forms of production and the possible reception of spectators. Further, the kinds of audiences who attend such performances may also self-select: does that tell us anything important about the production of meaning in these cases? In closing, she suggested an agenda for future research and argued the politics of our scholarship in this area can be important to the future of our polities as well as our fields. 

This formal keynote address took place on September 21st 2016 at 7pm followed by a Q&A as well as a light reception and celebration of the official opening of the Centre for Spectatorship and Audience Research.

Both events took place at The Robert Gill Theatre.

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