Understand, Follow and Respond to the transformations of its spectators
by Marisa Giménez Cacho
"For the period 2011-2014, ASSITEJ proposed that its members should reflect on three central issues for the theatre: the society, the artists and the audience. During the international meetings in Okinawa 2012 - Facing the Society, and Linz 2013 - Facing the Artists, the first two topics were discussed and presented in the corresponding numbers of the magazine.
Today, within the framework of our organisation’s 18th Congress and as part of the activities of the Korczak Festival in Warsaw, we present in the 2014 magazine: Facing the Audience, published in English and Polish.
To say that theatre is communication is a cliché. Through experience, we know that true communication is not a simple matter. In human communication, ideological, social, psychological and emotional factors intervene, either predetermining or occurring unpredictably. In the theatre, to tell stories, present ideas and convey emotions, the discourse is constructed with literature, music, dance, body language, plastic arts, puppets and multimedia. The different artistic languages and their infinite variety of forms of interaction enrich communication.
So why isn't it successful?
Without underestimating common sense and intuition, a greater knowledge of who we are communicating with provides us with elements for a more profound dialogue.
If we want the theatre to enrich the lives of children and young people, we artists, promoters, managers and educators must face the audience with honesty and truth. The audience is not an abstract, unchanging entity; it is not just a niche of the market. The audience is human, complex, diverse, alive and ever-changing. The young audiences do belong to a different age group than us, but they are our contemporaries; they share space and time with us.
How can we improve communication? Is there any relationship between the themes of the shows and the audiences they are aimed at? What does the audience mean for the artists?
ASSITEJ faces the audience. Articles, notes, opinions, interviews, photos and drawings from the five continents provide material for reflecting on our relationship with the audience and what we can do to improve our communication with them. (…)"
(Facing the Audience Widzenie Widza. The Annual Magazine of ASSITEJ 2014, 4-5)
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