Convener(s): Martin Sharp

Participants: Morvan Macbeth, Catherine Eccles, Kim Gladston, Jonanna Woodward, John Hale, Natasha Betteridge, Lawrence O’Connor, Trisha Lee, Daniel Paolucci

Although when we talk about the ‘Theatre World’ we recognised that we were talking in vast generalisations – and that the Theatre World is not an ideal term and that perhaps different genres of theatre might be a more effective way of talking about the Theatre World even with all the inherent limitations of categorisation – at least it might enable audiences to be able to say I like that kind of theatre, but not that kind etc.

We opened by considering how television/film is generally perceived by ‘Theatre people’ and it was thought that generally the Theatrical world hold a superior perspective on themselves for the following reasons:

1 Theatre people feel their work/world has more worth – is less ‘sold out’ than film/television etc.
2 Theatre is usually more challenging and does not pamper to simplicity or the need to dumb-down its work
3 Theatre is more Holy/Rough (Peter Brook sense) and Existential
4 Theatre is more innovative
5 Theatre takes more risks and intellectually more challenging and stimulating

We then considered why audiences, particularly younger audiences are more interested in watching films and tv – whether at home or on DVD/Video etc.
(nb. Current statistics suggest audiences are increasingly choosing to watch films in their homes. – not quite sure whether this is confined to particular age groups or not)

Our reasons for the lack of enough theatre going audiences were attributed to:

1 Audiences desire to be entertained at home
2 Home based entertainment and the cinema are usually more affordable options than Theatre.
3 Cinema films are heavily trailed and therefore the audience tends to know what they are going to get – less risk for your money.
4 Theatre is often considered elitist – ie. the domain of the educated and advantaged classes – forgive ‘class’ term if you don’t believe it exists.
5 Theatres spaces/buildings are often not very inviting spaces.
6 Theatre going has associations with dressing-up, following a tradition/etiquette.
7 Theatre is considered as work for the audience whereas film/television is considered pleasure.