Deconstructing Audiences’ Experiences

  • Ben WalmsleyEmail author
Part of the New Directions in Cultural Policy Research book series (NDCPR)


This chapter grapples with some of the most fundamental questions of audiencing: What is going on when audiences engage or are engaged with performance? How important is the live element of audiences’ experiences? What kinds of experiences do audiences have when they engage with the performing arts? Which elements and phenomena characterise and differentiate these experiences from other kinds of experiences? Can audiences’ experiences be truly restorative or even transformative? The chapter offers a theoretical discussion of the nature of performing arts experiences before moving on to explore the relative agency that audiences have in engaging with performance. It then explores the phenomenology of audiency, including the roles that empathy, immersion, arousal, catharsis, intersubjectivity, and embodied and enactive spectatorship play in shaping audiences’ experiences.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School Performance Cultural IndustriesUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK

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