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Practical Spectating with Dr. Elizabeth Swift

February 2nd, 2023 2-3:30pm EST

Practical Spectating - Engaging [with] theatre in a post-audience era presented by Dr Elizabeth Swift.

A certain prescriptive style of artistic production and consumption lies at the heart of Western cultural practice. To interrogate it necessarily challenges the roles both artist and spectator and the rules of their relationship; roles and rules that are so embedded in our culture that they are rarely considered as constructs.

This book will explore how contemporary immersive performance is dislodging the familiar hierarchical relationship between performance and spectator. It contends that new narrative dynamics are emerging as intermedial, participatory and site-based practices become prevalent, practices that that do not recognise an intransient binary between producers and consumers. There is an increasing need to find a fit-for-purpose means of reasoning about these new practices and the processes they entail in order to understand their  significance.

This study reaches into ancient cultural traditions of indigenous communities to find precursors to contemporary immersive performance that are able to shed new light on the evolving roles of spectator and performer. It also adopts a forensic attitude contemporary audience behaviour in order to reveal how modes of performance are fostered and/or challenged by invisible attitudes and unspoken rituals that constitute contemporary spectatorial practice

Dr Elizabeth Swift is a writer and director of intermedial performance. She lectures in Drama at the University of Gloucestershire, UK, and  has an MA in Contemporary Performance Practice from Lancaster University and a Phd in Drama  from University of Exeter. Liz is director of Void Projects performance company that  has toured internationally with intermedial  performance work.Publications include articles in International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media, Body Space and Technology and in Palgrave’s Framing Immersive Theatre and Performance. Liz represented the UK at the 2019 British Academy International forum on the Future of Storytelling in Australia.

Presented over Zoom.

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