Audience Participation & Consent

It’s funny what crosses your mind when you are not thinking about it. I saw a recent post by the fabulous performer- Miss Frisky on Facebook and she was talking about audience participation and their consent in shows.

It was really interesting to read what the artists were saying, so I thought I would have my view as an audience member.

As an audience member

Looking at this as if I was sitting in the theatre and not reviewing the performance, I would say learn to expect the unexpected when it comes to theatre. If you have never experienced the particular artist before then you don’t know what will happen.

How do you feel when audience participation does happen?

I automatically squirm as my hands start to sweat hoping that I don’t get picked, but luckily I never get picked. And I don’t know if that is because of my age or is because (when I am reviewing) the actor knows where the press sit so they never choose me. Or is it rather that they can see the fear is on my face, either way I am relived that I am never chosen.

So you’ve not been chosen, no sweat right?…

No, I start to cringe when I see audience involvement, I worry that they won’t get it right and it will become awkward and ruin the flow of the performance.

What about if you have seen the performer before ?

I feel way more relaxed as I know what is coming. So if they choose me, I feel a bit more at ease. I suppose it all depends on the relationship between audience member and the performer.

With Frisky and Mannish, as I have seen them before (many times)I feel comfortable with them as I feel like I know them and if I was involved in their performance I would not be scared.

Take Panto

Yes, lets look at panto- it is traditional for audience participation and I know that will be apart of the show. I know that as I am now an adult I won’t be chosen but when I was younger, I would still freak out knowing that I may be chosen to stand on stage- I would try and hide behind my mam so they did not notice me. And I guess as the actor, them seeing little Gemma- shy they would not pick me.

I think that is what is is about, the performer has to recognise the audiences body language and react to that, see if they do appear shy then maybe don’t get them involved. I suppose it is all about trust as well, have you warmed up to the audience enough to let them trust you. I suppose if they do trust you then they will be more likely to want to get involved.

It all just depends on that relationship between artist and audience.

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