Challenges of cultural industry knowledge exchange in live performance audience research

With live performance audience research frequently relying on cultural organisations to facilitate access to their audiences, this article addresses the issues involved in evidencing spectators’ responses via discursive methodologies. Recalling a series of empirical projects conduced over the past ten years with a range of theatre practitioners ,it examines the conflicts involved in carrying out scholarly studies of audience reception against cultural organisations’ pressures to produce their own ongoing audience evaluations. Examining key concerns about audience research raised by creative practitioners in varying theatrical contexts, from site-specific to building-based work, it addresses the difficulties of understanding live performance reception and aesthetic experience via impact frameworks. It begins by situating these three operations in  the context of Knowledge Exchange (KE) between academics within Higher Education Insitutions (HEIs) and those in the creative industry sector.

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