I had an incredible flash yesterday and I wanted to put it down and explain it. It was about why Industrial Theatre is so successful at communicating a message. Industrial theatre is all about understanding your audience, and creating work for them. It is about giving a particular (and very specific, in most cases) group of people exactly what they want to see. Characters are created with them in mind. The audience is mirrored on stage in terms of content, culture, language, aspiration and most importantly humour. Once the client’s message and brief is understood, it’s a case of finding the best way to put it across to the audience, making the performance inclusive in a way that traditional theatre often isn’t. Traditional theatre has developed a bit of a reputation (definitely in this country) for being rather elitist and inaccessible and most theatre makers perpetuate this by creating work that challenges and confounds. You have to be a ‘theatre buff’ to ‘get it’. I am; and I love it, but it is hard to grow that special audience. With industrial theatre you work the other way around. First find out everything you can about the audience and then make the show for and about them. Knowing your audience is what brings about success. Granted, it is an audience that doesn’t choose to arrive. It is a given that they will be there (unlike traditional theatre where most often an audience has to be found, coerced, nagged and dragged) so half the battle is won. But keeping their interest, and creating a connection is the sole focus of the work. And there is nothing more rewarding than when this works. I’m ready to get to rehearsals today!
About Brenton Furniss
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