Is it More Fun to Make Theatre than Watch it?

Convener(s): Gloria Lindh

Participants: Roisin Stimpson, Oliver Townsend, Mary O’L, Susanna, Sarah, David Bellwood, Matt Trueman, Roxanne Peak-Payne and others who dropped in as the discussion was underway 

Summary of discussion:

The question:

Does fun mean frivolous? The proposer suggested fun might not be the most useful term to describe an experience. Maybe satisfying? Theatre doesn’t always have to be fun. Another question might be ‘why make theatre’ or ‘why watch theatre’.

This was a more theoretical than practical discussion, it would be fair to say!


(What people said about) watching theatre

In trying to describe an audience experience and what was important to us, the group member’s wishlists included:

To experience a completed event.

Others like there to be room for the audience to be part of completing the event.

Truth, generosity of spirit from maker and audience. Generosity was a word that was used a lot at one point in the discussion.

To feel that the maker had considered and honoured the audience experience; the context, the group.

Quality, sense of spontaneity, access to process of making.

There was a discussion that surfaced a few times about making the experience of watching theatre more like the experience of making theatre. We talked about a participatory audience and the ways that people felt part of an event: sharing the same space as those who were making theatre, having a role within the performance. Scratch performance wasn’t seen by some to be a good mechanism for achieving this.

The experience of an event starts when you hear about it and ends when you stop hearing about it.


(What people said about) making theatre:

It’s not always fun, of course. Theatre is playing seriously…….

A positive making experience does not always match with a positive audience experience.

We talked about making theatre considering a potential audience. Do the audience have more fun if a specific audience is considered while making? Not everyone agreed. It’s possible to think about your audience too much, and trying to cater to all audiences isn’t always a good idea said others. There is a balance or tension.

Who are we making theatre for? Is there a selfish element to making theatre. If we’re making theatre for other people do they want to see it? Do we make theatre for other makers?



There were more people who did not raise their hands in response to the question ‘do you think making theatre is more fun than watching it’. This might mean that more people enjoy watching theatre, or it might mean that less people think watching theatre is fun.

There is interest in how the process of making theatre can be shared with audiences.

As audience members people want to feel that they are considered as part of the process.

There were no calls to action, apart from generally to be fun.