Your reports Find reports Why Sport, not Art? An Olympic Debate Why Sport, not Art? An Olympic Debate Convener(s): James Bush Participants: Jamie, Alex, Tom, Seth, Tim, Nick, Catherine, Emily, Julia Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations: This discussion addressed the similarities /differences in audience relationships in sporting/theatrical events, with the outside influences of the Arts Council/Government Policy and societal trends of belonging being factored in. The points that arose were as follows: As a nation do we value the ‘healthy mind’? The mass appeal of sporting teams and events is embedded in our modern society – contemporary tribalism? The Olympics is a massive financial initiative which has resulted in money being re-directed away from the Arts and links with an uncomfortable proximity in the relationship between the Government and the Arts Council. The benefits of the Olympics (development and regeneration of urban areas, tourism, and the consequential economic boost) are apparent. Where the potentials are for Artist’s to get involved in the Olympic momentum? Projects/Performances that seek to promote an audience relationship akin to that of a sporting event – Directing a show as Football Manager, including shouting from the sidelines and substituting actors. Games/Rules/Timed Duration on stage in favor of scripted, conventional performance – allows the potential of surprise, encourages ‘liveness’ of an event to take precedent in the viewing experience. Crowd Behavior – the volume of audience, the varying degrees of involvement, etiquette and ‘classist’ divisions Football has a soap-opera quality, played out on the back pages, however the event is played ‘honestly’ in the moment, there is no pre-determined result, that commitment and potential for endless chance is what fascinates and consumes spectator. Can we invest this in our theatre? Supporters and Belonging – geographical located, family tradition, comparisons to religion, socially engaging. Theatre still marred by remnants of negative elitist stigma. There is a need to re-define the conventional stage/audience relationship to interest wider audiences – license must be given to audiences to enter into a ‘two-way’ relationship with performance, to engage, in order to harness the vitality of the live event.