Critical Care: Audience in Interactive and Immersive Performance: How do we take care of our audiences in interactive, immersive and one-on-one performance?

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Abstract

In The Good Child Report (2012), a survey of more than 30,000 children aged 8-16 between 2005 and 2011, priorities for a happy childhood are identified as including:

• Having a positive self-image and an identity that is respected
• Opportunities to take part in positive activities to thrive
• Having choice and autonomy

This paper will consider how interactive theatre can satisfy some of these needs and discuss what our duty of care is when working with child audiences.

In it I will use as a case study my work Space Rebel Princess, an immersive dance theatre show for children, which responds to some of the needs identified in The Good Child Report. Through interactive games, tasks, and play, it invites audiences to engage in an adventure that casts each child as a hero. The performance is contextualised by the works of other contemporary research in the field of children’s theatre to consider how we can best care for young people in interactive performance environments.

I will reference the writing of Beth Juncker about creating theatre that treats children as “beings” rather than “becomings” – the adults of the future. For Space Rebel Princess, this meant seeking out children’s opinions early on and developing the work in a way that makes them feel safe and valued. The paper will also consider how we can create a safe space for the children by setting up expectations about how they will engage with the performance before it begins and examine how practitioners can seed the audience with confidence prior to the show to ensure they feel assured of their own success. Lastly, I will consider strategies for developing interactive work for children that acknowledges their culture of play.
TYPE:
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar 2018
EventCritical Care: Audience in Immersive, Interactive and One-on-One Performance one-day symposium - London Southbank University, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 31 Mar 201831 Mar 2018

Conference

ConferenceCritical Care: Audience in Immersive, Interactive and One-on-One Performance one-day symposium
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityLondon
Period31/03/1831/03/18

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Essex, J. (2018). Critical Care: Audience in Interactive and Immersive Performance: How do we take care of our audiences in interactive, immersive and one-on-one performance?. Critical Care: Audience in Immersive, Interactive and One-on-One Performance one-day symposium, London, United Kingdom.