The role of the audience in the experimental theatre

The experimental theatre has been around for over a century, and some people still get surprised when an actor runs into the audience or shout on the stage. The role of the public was passive for most of the history, and experimental theatre has radically influenced the ongoing trend of interacting with the members of an audience.

But what exactly can a theatre lover expect when going to an experimental theatre? In what ways his role has changed from the traditional function of the observer? Let’s take a look at some of the most influential theatres and the role of the audience within them.

The Satori Group (Seattle)

One of the first major experimental theatre groups were The Satori Group. Based in Seattle, the team has been actively performing since 2006. Besides the radical interpretation of dramatic works, the theatre uses dance, movement, and music in their productions. Although they have been established themselves as a part of the mainstream, the audience still reacts in a state of shock when seeing their performances. You can expect a significant level of unpleasantry along with the shocking scenes, high-intensity dance and music, and expressive acting.

The Living Theater (NYC)

Founded by two prominent cultural activist of the time – a poet Julian Beck and actress Judith Malina – The Living Theater is one of the oldest experimental theatre groups in the US. Since they were involved in political and pacifist ideas, they work has not been approved by the government and institutions. They mostly toured in Europe, which was more open to the ideas of freedom, the anti-war movement, and anarchy. Their most praised work Paradise Now relies heavily on the improvisation and the participation of the audience.

Au Ments Dansa Teatre (Mallorca, Spain)

This Spanish theatre group relies on using dance and movement to express their radical ideas. Often they create mesmerizing effects, which communicate with the audience profoundly.

DV8 Physical Theater (London, UK)

London theatre group also based their performances on dance, movement, music, and acting, which gave them the opportunity to interact with their audience creatively. The shocking effect is not as common as with The Living Theater, but the audience will feel different while attending one of their shows.

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