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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter May 12, 2016

It’s All about You: Immersive Theatre and Social Networking

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Since the millennium, immersive theatre has developed and emerged into the mainstream, with companies like Punchdrunk enjoying immense popular success. This shift in the theatre world has corresponded to significant changes in technology. Alongside the advent of Google and the entrance of video gaming into the wider public consciousness, the popularity of social networking has proved such that it has quickly become an intrinsic part of many people’s everyday lives. Currently almost a billion people, one-seventh of the world’s population, log into Facebook daily, and that figure is rising. As the time spent on social media escalates, it inevitably impacts on how we think, behave and communicate, with effects reaching far beyond the self to every corner of our lives, theatre included. Building on theories recently presented by neuroscientist Susan Greenfield, this article considers the relationship between social networking and mind change in theatre audiences. In particular, it focuses on how changing patterns in our communication and relationships with others, and in our construction of identity and sense of self, have brought about corresponding changes in what we want as audience members, and in the context of supply and demand, have responded to and shaped immersive theatre.

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Olivia Turnbull is Senior Lecturer in Drama at Bath Spa University. Her work focuses on cultural and economic policy, gender and theatre, experimental performance, and performance and new media. Most recently, her research has turned to companies and practitioners who are challenging traditional modes of theatregoing, particularly in the context of new technology. She is author of the book Bringing Down the House: The Crisis in Britain’s Regional Theatres (Intellect, 2009).

Published Online: 2016-5-12
Published in Print: 2016-5-1

© 2016 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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