By Adam Alston
Immersive theatre presently enjoys ubiquity, acceptance and popularity in theatre journalism and scholarship. even if, the politics of immersive theatre aesthetics nonetheless lacks a considerable critique. Does immersive theatre version a specific type of politics, or a specific form of viewers? What’s interested in the construction and intake of immersive theatre aesthetics? Is a efficient viewers constantly an empowered viewers? And do the phrases of an audience’s empowerment withstand political scrutiny?
Beyond Immersive Theatre contextualises those questions by means of tracing the evolution of neoliberal politics and the event financial system during the last 4 a long time. via particular severe analyses of labor via Ray Lee, Lundahl & Seitl, Punchdrunk, shunt, Theatre Delicatessen and part reduce, Adam Alston argues that there's a tacit politics to immersive theatre aesthetics – a tacit politics that's illuminated via neoliberalism, and that's ripe to be challenged via the evolution and diversification of immersive theatre.
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Additional info for Beyond Immersive Theatre: Aesthetics, Politics and Productive Participation
Performance Research, 19(6), 30–36. Sauter, W. ). (1988). New directions in audience research: Advances in reception and audience research 2. Utrecht, The Netherlands: Instituut voor Theaterwetenschap. Schoenmakers, H. ). (1986). Performance theory: Advances in reception and audience research 1. Utrecht, The Netherlands: Nederlands Theater Instituut. Schoenmakers, H. ). (1992). Performance theory: Reception and audience research: Advances in reception and audience research 3. Amsterdam: Tijdschrift voor heaterwetenschap.
Harris rightly identifies a binding of fantasy and politics in work, such as my own, that assesses modes of production and/or reception in immersive theatre in light of the wider conditions that inform and sometimes enable these modes to arise; however, her linking of this identification to a disavowal of the possibility that myriad passions can be connected to social change is something I do not recognise in my own approach to examining the politics of immersive theatre aesthetics. Many immersive theatre performances invite productive participation as a condition of effective or encouraged audience engagement, and this condition may indicatively involve narcissistic participation, or entrepreneurial participation; however, a critique of the kinds of invitations to participate and be immersed in immersive theatre is not the same thing as critiquing an unknown host of passions among diverse immersive theatre audiences.
Audiences in these performances are encouraged to recognise productive participation as a subject position, unearthing a vitally significant aspect of immersive theatre’s politically progressive potential that resists or probes what it means to demand or unquestionably expect the rewards attached to productive consumption. That, in my view, is worth celebrating once attuned to the expedient compromises of neoliberalism. METHODS/NUMBERS/MAP Countries throughout Europe, Africa, the Americas, Asia and Australasia have developed fields of immersive theatre production, but it is the UK and London in particular that pulls focus in this book.
Beyond Immersive Theatre: Aesthetics, Politics and Productive Participation by Adam Alston