Social Media as Cultural Stage: Co-creation, Audience Collaboration and the Construction of Theatre Cultures

  • Bree HadleyEmail author


This chapter examines the uptake of social media as a tool for theatre audience engagement, development, assessment and evaluation. Examples of efforts to get a community invested in theatre works, theatre workers, and their personal, social and professional lives via social media in one local context in Brisbane, Australia, provide insights into what sparks or fails to spark meaningful debate about the industry and the industry’s impact in the public sphere. The role of well-meant advice from a range of experts in creating the conditions of possibility for such debates or, paradoxically, constraining such debates emerges as a central concern for those theatre makers looking to use the technology to invite the public into a co-creative position in their processes.


  1. Albarran, Alan B. (ed.). 2013. The Social Media Industries. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Altes, Karene. 2009. Social Media: Young Professionals Effect Change in the Workplace. Journal of Property Management 74 (5): 44–47.Google Scholar
  3. Anderson, Benedikt. 1991. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  4. Anderson, Eric. 2010. Social Media Marketing: Game Theory and The Emergence of Collaboration. Portland: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ashcroft, Bill, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin. 1989. The Empire Writes Back: Theory and Practice in Post-Colonial Studies. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 2013. Producer tools, Accessed 9 June 2014.
  7. Australian Government. 2011. National Cultural Policy Discussion Paper. Department of Prime Minster and Cabinet—Office for the Arts 2011, 1 Oct 2011. Accessed 13 Aug 2013.
  8. Balme, Christoper. 2014. The Theatrical Public Sphere. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Baylis, John. 2009. Mapping Queensland Theatre. Arts Queensland. Accessed 10 Sept 2011.
  10. Becker, Leo B. and Schoenbach, Klaus, B. 1989. When Media Content Diversifies: Anticipating Audience Behaviour. In Audience Responses to Media Diversification: Coping with Plenty, ed. Leo B. Becker, and Klaus B. Schoenbach, 1–27. Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  11. Bell, David. 2001. An Introduction to Cybercultures. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  12. Benedikt, Micheal. 2000. ‘Cyberspace: First Steps. In The Cybercultures Reader, ed. David Bell and Barbara M Kennedy, 29–44. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  13. Berger, Christopher. 2012. The Social Media Strategists: Build a Successful Program from the Inside Out. Boston: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  14. Blake, Elissa. 2010. Geeks, Tweets and Bums on Seats: How Social Media Is Shaping the Arts in Australia. Sydney Morning Herald. 10 July 2010. Accessed 9 Aug 2013.
  15. Blake, Elissa. 2013. Belvoir Rattles the Pan, and Some Miss the Magic. Sydney Morning Herald 7 Aug 2013. Accessed 5 Jan 2015.
  16. Bourdieu, Pierre. 1986. The Forms of Capital. In Handbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education, ed. John C. Richardson, 241–258. New York: Greenwood.Google Scholar
  17. Brogan, Chris. 2010. Social Media 101: Tactics and Tips to Develop Your Business Online. Hoboken: Wiley.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Butsch, Richard. 2008. The Citizen Audience: Crowds, Publics and Individuals. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  19. Caines, Rebecca. 2008. Troubling Spaces: The Politics of “New” Community-Based Guerrilla Performance in Australia. PhD thesis, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. Accessed 5 Jan 2015.
  20. Capelin, Steve (ed.). 1995. Challenging the Centre: Two Decades of Political Theatre. Brisbane: Playlab Press.Google Scholar
  21. Cann, Alan, Dimitriou, Konstantia, and Hooley, Tristram. 2011. Social Media: A Guide For Researchers. Research Information Network. Accessed 5 Jan 2015. Accessed 5 Dec 2012.
  22. Cooper, Simon. 1997. Plenitude and Alienation: The Subject of Virtual Reality. In Virtual Politics: Identity and Community, ed. David Holmes, 93–106. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  23. Correa, Teresa, Willard Hinsely, Amber and Gil de Zúñiga, Homero. 2010. Who Interacts on the Web?: The Intersection of Users’ Personality and Social Media Use. Computers in Human Behaviour 26.2: 247–253.Google Scholar
  24. Conner, Lynne. 2013. Audience Engagement and the Role of Arts Talk in the Digital Era. London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Constantinides, Efthymios and Fountain, Stafan J. 2008. Web 2.0: Conceptual Foundations and Marketing Issues. Journal of Direct, Data and Digital Marketing Practice 9.3: 231–245.Google Scholar
  26. Croggon, Alison. 2010. Now For Something Different. The Australian 7 Dec 2010. Accessed 16 Jan 2015.
  27. Donath, Judith S. 1999. Identity and Deception in the Virtual Community. In Communities in Cyberspace, ed. Mark A. Smith, and Peter Kollack, 29–59. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  28. Downes, Daniel. 2005. Interactive Realism: The Poetics of Cyberspace. Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Eliezer, Christie. 2012. Crowdfunding Survey: Why Some Aussie Projects Fail. The Music Network 1 Aug 2012. Accessed 13 Dec 2014.
  30. Evans, Elizabeth. 2011. Transmedia Television: Audiences, New Media and Daily Life. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  31. Felski, Rita. 1989. Beyond Feminist Aesthetics: Feminist Literature and Social Change. Boston: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Feeney, Katherine. 2010a. Gow Happy to Leave “Middle of the Road”. Brisbane Times 28 April 2010. Accessed 13 Jan 2015.
  33. Fotheringham, Richard. 1992. Community Theatre in Australia. Sydney: Currency Press.Google Scholar
  34. Foy, Kate. 2010a. Is there Anything Right with the Theatre? Groundling 10 Jan 2010. Accessed 10 Sept 2011.
  35. Foy, Kate. 2010b. Brisbane: Wanted—A Cultural Reality Check. Groundling 20 March 2010. Accessed 10 Sept 2011.
  36. Francis, Toby. 2013a. Australian Musical Theatre’s Got Talent. Robojustice Superfighter 22 July 2013. Accessed 15 Jan 2015.
  37. Francis, Toby. 2013b. Twitter and The X Factor are the New Casting Couches. ArtsHub, 23 July 2013. Accessed 15 Jan 2015.
  38. Fraser, Nancy. 1989. Unruly Practices: Power, Discourse and Gender in Contemporary Social Theory. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  39. Fraser, Nancy. 1990. Rethinking The Public Sphere: A Contribution to the Critique of Actually Existing Democracy. Social Text 25 (26): 56–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Gentry, James K. 2009. The Social Networking Revolution: You Can’t Afford to Ignore Social Media. Accounting Today 23 (16): 42.Google Scholar
  41. Gill, Raymond. 2010. Is Brisbane Australia’s New Cultural Capital? Sydney Morning Herald 16 Oct 2010. Accessed 10 Sept 2011.
  42. Goff, David H. 2013. A History of the Social Media Industries. In the Social Media Industries, ed. Alan B. Albarran, 16–45. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  43. Goffman, Erving. 1963. Behaviour in Public Places: Notes on the Social Organization of Gatherings. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  44. Goffman, Erving. 1973. Presentation of the Self in Everyday Life. Woodstock: Overlook Press.Google Scholar
  45. Habermas, Jürgen. 1962/1989. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere. London: Polity.Google Scholar
  46. Hadley, Bree, and Sandra Gattenhof. 2012. Brokering Evaluations of Partnerships in Australian Community Arts: Responding to Entrepreneurial Tendencies. Journal of Arts and Communities 4 (3): 231–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Hadley, Bree, and Gattenhof, Sandra. 2011. Creating Queensland, Creative Communities Partnership—Major Brisbane Festival and Australia Council for the Arts. Brisbane: Queensland University of Technology. Accessed 1 June 2013.
  48. Handley, Ann, and C.C. Chapman. 2012. Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, eBooks, Webinars. Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
  49. Hartley, John, and Alan McKee. 2000. The Indigenous Public Sphere: The Reporting and Reception of Indigenous Issues in the Australian Media, 1994–1997. Oxford: Oxford Unviersity Press.Google Scholar
  50. Heer, Jeffrey, and Danah Boyd. 2005. Vizster: Visualizing Online Social Networks. In Information Visualization, 2005. INFOVIS 2005. IEEE Symposium on, 32–39.Google Scholar
  51. Holmes, David. 1997a. Virtual Politics—Identity and Community in Cyberspace. In Virtual Politics: Identity and Community, ed. David Holmes, 1–25. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  52. Holmes, David. 1997b. Virtual Identity: Communities of Broadcast, Communities of Interactivity. In Virtual Politics: Identity and Community, ed. David Holmes, 26–45. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  53. Hunt, Cathy, and Phyllida Shaw. 2007. A Sustainable Arts Sector: What Will It Take?. Strawberry Hills: Currency House.Google Scholar
  54. Itzkoff, Dave. 2009. Casting Director Tweets at Tryouts, to Negative Reviews.Theater. New York Times 14 Aug 2009. Accessed 19 Aug 2013.
  55. Jabour, Bridie. 2013. Smart Arts? Finance First on New Arts Board. Brisbane Times 7 Feb 2013. Accessed 3 Feb 2015.
  56. Jenkins, Henry. 2006. Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  57. Jordan, Tim. 1999. Cyberpower: The Culture and Politics of Cyberspace and the Internet. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  58. Kelly, Nicole. 2010. 4 Ways to Measure Social Media and It’s Impact on Your Brand. Social Media Examiner. Accessed 19 Dec 2011.
  59. Kerpen, Dave. 2011. Likeable Social Media: How to Delight Your Customers, Create an Irresistible Brand, and Be Generally Amazing on Facebook (and Other Social Networks). New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  60. Kotler, Phillip, and Joanne Scheff. 1997. Standing Room Only. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.Google Scholar
  61. Kotler, Phillip, Stewart, Adam, Brown, Linden, and Armstrong, Gary. 2003. Principles of Marketing. NSW: Pearson Education.Google Scholar
  62. Lonergan, Patrick. 2016. Theatre & Social Media. London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Lovett, John. 2011. Social Media Metrics Secrets. Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
  64. Lyotard, Jean-Francois. 1984. The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  65. Mackrell, Judith. 2012. Dancing with the Digits. Sydney Morning Herald 2 Aug 2012. Accessed 19 Aug 2013.
  66. Makeham, Paul, Hadley, Bree and Kwok, Joon-Yee. 2012. A Value Ecology Approach to the Performing Arts. MC Journal, 15.3. Accessed 1 June 2013.
  67. Mangold, W.Glynn, and David J. Faulds. 2009. Social Media: The New Hybrid Element of the Promotional Mix. Business Horizons 52 (4): 357–365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Mee, Sean. 2010. The Baylis Report: Don’t Look Back. The Death of Reason, 20 May 2010. Accessed 10 Sept 2011.
  69. Meyer, Marc. 2009. Give More and Get More out of Social Media. Communication World 26 (6): 48.Google Scholar
  70. Miller, Paige. 2013. Social Media Marketing. In The Social Media Industries, ed. Alan B. Albarran, 86–104. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  71. Milne, Geoffrey. 2004. Theatre Australia (Un)limited: Australian Theatre since the 1950s. Amsterdam: Rodopi.Google Scholar
  72. Mouffe, Chantal. 2005. On the Political. Abington: Routledge.Google Scholar
  73. Musia, Katarzyna and Nishanth, Sastry. 2012. Social Media: Are They Underpinned by Social or Interest Based Interactions? In Proceedings, Simplex /12—Proceedings of the Fourth Annual Workshop on Simplifying Complex Networks for Practitioners, 1–6. New York: ACM.Google Scholar
  74. Nabarro, Michael. 2013. How Technology is Transforming the Theatre Box Office. Culture Professionals Network, The Guardian 12 Aug 2013. Accessed 19 Aug 2013.
  75. Negt, Oscar and Kluge, Alexander. 1972/1993. The Public Sphere and Experience: Toward an Analysis of the Bourgeois and Proletarian Public Sphere. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  76. O’Neill, Stephen. 2014. Shakespeare and YouTube: New Media Forms of the Bard. London: Bloomsbury.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Page, Ruth. 2012. Stories and Social Media: Identities and Interaction. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  78. Pérez-Latre, Francisco. 2013. The Paradoxes of Social Media: A Review of Theoretical Issues. In The Social Media Industries, ed. Alan B. Albarran, 46–59. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  79. Phillips, Arther Angel. 2006. A.A. Philips on the Cultural Cringe, Melbourne: Melbourne University Publishing.Google Scholar
  80. Pine, B.Joseph, and James H. Gilmore. 2011. The Experience Economy, 2nd ed. Boston: Harvard Business Review Press.Google Scholar
  81. Poster, Mark. 1997. Cyberdemocracy: The Internet and the Public Sphere. In Virtual Politics: Identity and Community, ed. David Holmes, 212–228. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  82. Prahalad, C.K., and Venkat Ramaswarmy. 2000. Co-opting Customer Competence. Harvard Business Review 78 (1): 79–87.Google Scholar
  83. Prahalad, C.K., and Venkat Ramaswarmy. 2004. The Future of Competition: Co-Creating Unique Value With Customers. Boston: Harvard Business Review Press.Google Scholar
  84. Puvanenthiran, Bhakthi. 2014. Call for Free Kylie Dancers Stumbles. Sydney Morning Herald 25 April 2014. Accessed 19 Jan 2015.
  85. Radbourne, Jennifer, and Margaret Fraser. 1996. Arts Management: A Practical Guide. St Leonards: Allen and Unwin.Google Scholar
  86. Rentschler, Ruth. 2002. The Entrepreneurial Arts Leader: Cultural Policy, Change and Reinvention. St Lucia: University of Queensland Press.Google Scholar
  87. Rheingold, Howard. 1993/2000. The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  88. Sant, Toni. 2014. Art, Performance, and Social Media. In Routledge Handbook of Social Media, ed. Jeremy Hunsinger, and Theresa M. Senft, 45–58. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  89. Sloss Performing Arts Company. 2011. MUSE OF FIRE: Shakespeare at Sloss. Accessed 19 Aug 2013.
  90. Sloss Performing Arts Company. 2011. Call For Participation: MUSE OF FIRE: Shakespeare at Sloss. Facebook. http://www.facebook.c0m/#!/group.php?gid=9921118571&v=info. Accessed 19 Aug 2013.
  91. Smith, Marc A., and Peter Kollock. 1999. Communities in Cyberspace. In Communities in Cyberspace, ed. Mark A. Smith, and Peter Kollack, 3–25. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Steidl, Peter, and Robert Hughes. 1999. Marketing Strategies for Arts Organisations. Sydney: Australian Council.Google Scholar
  93. Sternberg, Janet. 2012. Misbehavior in Cyber Places: The Regulation of Online Conduct in Virtual Communities on the Internet. Lanahm: University Press of America.Google Scholar
  94. Tapcott, Don, and Anthony D. Williams. 2006. Wikinomics. New York: Portfolio.Google Scholar
  95. Trottier, Daniel. 2012. Social Media as Surveillance: Rethinking Visibility in a Converging World. Abingdon: Ashgate Publishing Group.Google Scholar
  96. Turner, Tonya. 2010a. Is Brisbane Brizvegas—Or a Cultural Desert? Courier Mail 17 March 2010. Accessed 10 Sept 2011.
  97. Turner, Tonya. 2010b. Stage Fright: Debrief. Courier Mail 17 May 2010. Accessed 10 Sept 2011.
  98. Westbrook, Cathy. 2014. How to stage theatre’s online future, The Guardian Theatre blog with Lyn Gardiner, Monday 14 April 2014. Available online
  99. Zarella, Dan. 2010. The Social Media Marketing Book. Sebastapol: O’Reilly Media.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Queensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia

Personalised recommendations