Pulling teeth. 

 ‘Does anyone have any useful and inovative Audience Feedback Models – for use in scratch/work in progress performances?’

 - brutal – honest – excellent – useful feedback… 

Convener: Lucy Ellinson

Participants: Sophie Woolley, Sarah Maguire, Frank B, Loren O’Dair, Jodie Hawkes, Pete Phillips, Suzy Harvey, Ange Leventis, Ann Wilson, Kirsty Lothian, Martin B, Anna Flood

 - thank you to everyone who came along – your advice was really helpful, Lx  ([email protected])

Summary of chattery

Why is it difficult to gather useful feedback and constructive constructive criticism after scratch/work in progress performances…

What models have we used and how have they worked (and in what context were they used). 

What do we want to achieve from ‘Feedback’ and what do we do with it when we’ve got it!

Trickiness encountered


Timid audience responses – low response rates

(why is this - politeness?/audience confidence?/method of invitation?/accessibility issues?/timing?). 

“it was very nice dear…”

Receiving only nicepositive comments and your parents/girlfriend filling in your feedback forms.

(useful for ACE apps but not ‘building’ creatively).

The Owch.

The danger of ‘building work from the outside in’  - how and should

artists handle/incorporate feedback into their work (and where do those decisions leave your feedbackers??). 

The time ‘gap’ between the ‘processing’ needs of the audience – compared to the artist …

(as an artist you want immediate feedback, as an audience member you need to time and space…)

Questions raised, Thinking thunked and recommendations made…

How does experimental performance differ from new writing/comedy and so on…

(furthermore – scratching ‘out of town’ – new faces, fresh eyes, one night stands…)

Does a ‘scratch’ audience have a responsibility/obligation to provide feedback?

Please be brutal:

Will this further you as an artist/improve the quality of your work?


Does an artist receive continual concurrent feedback as they perform?  How do we sense this? Can we rely on this? 

The value of feedback, recognizing the time and creativity given by the audience.

Building confidence in the audience – empowerment of ideas and speaking in public..

Feedback is to further the work and develop the artist.   The Artist should therefore be in the driving seat in terms of designing the feedback questions and also has the right to say no to suggestions made..

Invitations to feedback are project specific and artists should think very carefully about what questions they want answers for…

the more specific/technical the better?  the more targeted the better?

We should always offer ‘free text’ – space where the audience can add their own comments…

Project mentoring and Peer-to-Peer mentoring accompanying scratch process…

– the benefits of building a group of artists you are connected to, to ask pertinent questions, offer comment as an ongoing relationship.

The fresh eyes of a new audience... 

How do we get new audiences to scratch events?  (theatre/non theatre goers/makers) – how do you get new people to see work that isn’t finished yet?

How can scratch start conversations between creative technicians, designers and makers?

Should the artists leave the building and leave the audience to it?

Where does blogging fit into feedback? 

Should an artist be prepared to see their (scratch) feedback published online? 

Is there an online space where artists can opt-in to gather – encourage feedback posts

(in addition to their webpages…)

 - Could this revolutionize review culture?? 


Provide as many ways as possible to feedback, so that people can make choices.  People need time, space, anonymity.

Offer comp tickets as an incentive?? 

Speak to the scratch event/festival/venue team about your needs, to get support and advice and feed in your own experiences.

Use immediate feedback sessions, also use of Post show discussion format.

Build ‘feedback’ checkpoints into your work (if that suits the nature of your work) or follow on your performance with a creative feedback session*. 

In your publicity, let your audience know the contract –

Eg. “tonight you will see new work from artists and your feedback is required (include finishing time) – in exchange we will get you drunk..”

3rd Party support – facilitation…

Have a ‘Feedback friend’ – someone you can speak to and can share your intentions for feedback, someone to act as a facilitator and create a buffer/access point between you and the audience.

Use language:

Was it hot/cold, colours, images

…feedback isn’t always text and people are often intimidated by review speak.

Open space technology.   Informal settings. 

Good examples that we’ve seen work/lets go and take part in one and see for ourselves/google:

The BAC model, regular scratch events, a community built from that event/venue, using forms and having access to the artists in the bar afterwards.  An invitation being made from the stage on their behalf.  Confident audiences, familiar with the format.

Liz Lerman, Artist Development, The Place

Jumble it Up – Oxford (and a Milton Keynes date soon)

Use open-space technology and ‘Feedback friends’ – after the scratch performances are finished, a room is laid out (similarly to D&D main space) and audience members approach the artists.  Cava supplied…

The Nightingale Theatre, Brighton (www.nightingaletheatre.co.uk)

*Lucy to try a ‘built in’ feedback session in Spring.  Will send invites to group/report on it’s success/failure.