Disruptive Presence: Twenty-First-Century Shifts in Spectatorship and Audience Research


An editorial introduction to this special issue on twenty-first spectatorship.

Author Biographies

Kelsey Jacobson, Queen's Unviersity
Kelsey Jacobson is an assistant professor in the Dan School of Drama and Music at Queen’s University. Her current research focuses on audience perception and locations of onstage realness in contemporary Canadian performance.
Scott Mealey, University of Toronto
Scott Mealey is a PhD candidate in the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto. His thesis interrogates the role of intent, style, and familiarity in effecting attitudinal changes in theatre spectators.
Jenny Salisbury, University of Toronto

Jenny Salisbury is a PhD candidate in the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance at the University of Toronto. Her teaching and research interests include community-engaged theatre and documentary and applied theatre, with an emphasis on Canadian play creation and audiences.


Athique, Adrian. Transnational Audiences: Media Reception on a Global Scale. New York: Polity Press, 2016.

Bleeker, Maaike and Isis Germano. "Perceiving and Believing: An Enactive Approach to Spectatorship." Theatre Journal 66, no. 3 (2014): 363-383.

Bourriaud, Nicholas. Postproduction: Culture as Screenplay - How Art Reprograms the World. Santa Monica: Ram Publications, 2005.

Bratich, Jack Z. "Amassing the Multitude: Revisiting Early Audience Studies." Communication Theory 15, no. 3 (2005): 242-65.

Freshwater, Helen. Theatre and Audience. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.

Heim, Caroline. Audience as Performer: The changing role of theatre audiences in the twenty-first century. London: Routledge, 2016.

Keltie, Emma. The Culture Industry and Participatory Audiences. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.

Lavender, Andy. Performance in the Twenty-First Century: Theatres of Engagement. London: Routledge, 2016.

McGregor, Shannon and Rachel Mourão. “Talking Politics on Twitter: Gender, Elections, and Social Networks.” Social Media + Society 2, no. 3 (2016): 1-14.

Park-Fuller, Linda. “Audiencing the Audience: Playback Theatre, Performative Writing, and Social Activism.” Text and Performance Quarterly 23, no. 1 (2003): 288-310.

Sauter, Willmar, ed. New Directions in Audience Research. Utrecht, the Netherlands: Tijdschrift voor Theaterwetenschap, 1988.

Shirky, Clay. “The Political Power of Social Media: Technology, The Public Sphere, and Political Change.” Foreign Affairs 90, no. 1 (2011): 28-41.

Smelik, Anneke. “Mediating Memories: The Ethics of Post-9/11 Spectatorship.” Arcadia 45, no. 2 (2010): 307-325.

Rancière, Jacques, and Gregory Elliott. The Emancipated Spectator. New York: Verso, 2009.

Read, Alan. “From Theatre & Everyday Life to Theatre in the Expanded Field: Performance Between Community and Immunity.” Journal of Contemporary Drama in English 2, no. 1 (2014): 8–25.

Reinelt, Janelle. "What UK spectators know: Understanding how we come to value theatre." Theatre Journal 66, no. 3 (2014): 337-361.

Reinelt, Janelle, David Edgar, Chris Megson, Dan Rebellato, Julie Wilinson, Jane Woddis. "Critical Mass: Theatre Spectatorship and Value Attribution." Arts and Humanities Research Council, 2014.

Toffler, Alvin. The Third Wave. New York City: William Morrow and Company, 1980.