Audience Engagement
by morag cook on February 25th, 2013

The notion of audience engagement excites me.
How can you involve audience in the process of the making of the work and the thinking that goes into the work?

It’s an opportunity to show community that what we do is not magic. To a certain extent, It’s a process of investigation and problem solving.
Creativity is as much a response to our community and the ‘problems’ involved in  creation as it is about ‘reason-less’, meaningless dreaming and art making. Creative thought is never random.
As an artist working in theatre, events and community, I love to have a relationship with our audiences that make this notion possible. I find ‘Art’ that disengages its audience rather than engages does immeasurable damage to the artist’s relationship with its viewing community. It intimidates and jeopardizes future experiences for the viewer.
Art should engage on so many levels. Not just in the space when you experience it but out side in your community. How do we as artists support this process of sharing between the community and artist, lessening the divide and mistrust? We have so many forms of technology with which we can create these relationships across vast distances (as in Australia) and people are becoming very quickly ‘tech’ educated (thanks to smart phones and tablets).
I see this a personal challenge. One that I am currently investigating with Patch Theatre Company and with the online design workshops I’m running for Come Out Festival.
Patch is driving the notion of Audience Engagement with their young audiences to a level where the material produced online maybe used in the performance. Come Out Opening Event is an exhibition of work that the children and schools have created with in the framework of a blog and instructional videos I have generated.
Its all new, but wonderfully exciting and filled with possibilities.
This is our FIRST blog on our EduBlogs site.  Its our educational, online community sharing blog space. We have 50 schools enrolled with us already to make a garden from disused 'Junk' in a place in school that needs livening up. Come Out Festival will then display approximately 25 schools' gardens to the Festival Centre for display over the life of the 10 day event. Its early days yet.

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