The Performing Audience Research Network

A resource for people interested in live performance audiences



About Us

While the past decade has seen increasing levels of interest in how audiences find meaning and value in live performance, until reasonably recently this research activity has been conducted in relative isolation: by people working in different disciplines, using disparate methodologies. However, several new exciting projects and publications have brought with them the feeling that a more cohesive tradition is now beginning to form.

PARN offers a point of connection for international scholars working in audience research and spectatorship in theatre, music, dance, comedy, experiential and live-streamed cinema, festivals, and all other areas of live performance. This is a forum to discuss ideas and methods, share news, promote CfPs and other opportunities, and publicise events. We welcome submissions and will share the details of your projects via our mailing list.


Who are we?

The network was founded and is chaired by Kirsty Sedgman. Kirsty graduated with her PhD in theatre audiences from Aberystwyth University. Her book Locating the Audience: How People Found Value in National Theatre Wales will be published by Intellect in early 2016. Her current audience research projects include what it means to ‘know the rules’ – or otherwise – when participating in experimental, immersive and promenade performances, how people experience ‘authenticity’ in actor-performed poetry, and how ‘big’ musical performances can feel intimate to audiences.

Board Members:

Matthew Reason is Professor of Theatre and Performance at York St John University (UK). Publications include Documentation, Disappearance and the Representation of Live Performance (Palgrave 2006), The Young Audience: Exploring and Enhancing Children’s Experiences of Theatre (Trentham 2010) and co-edited with Dee Reynolds, Kinesthetic Empathy in Creative and Cultural Contexts (Intellect 2012).

Katya Johanson is Associate Professor in the School of Communication and Creative Arts at Deakin University (Australia). Her research focuses on policy issues around arts and cultural engagement with audiences and communities. She has worked with local and state government agencies to produce work that informs public arts and cultural policy, particularly where policies seek to engage communities in arts and cultural activities. With Professor Jennifer Radbourne and Dr. Hilary Glow, she edited The Audience Experience (Intellect 2013).

Welcome to PARN

This website has been set up by audience researchers focusing on live performance, to provide a point of contact for scholars interested in audiences and spectatorship.

Please check back regularly for new CfPs, events and announcements. If there is anything you think we should feature please get in touch.

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