Teaching Spectatorship: Essays and Poems on Audience in Performance

by Monica Prendergast


Teaching Spectatorship: Essays and Poems on Audience in Performance offers a curriculum theory for audience in performance presented in a series of essays and poems on this key yet neglected educational topic. In a contemporary world that has been described as the “society of the spectacle” and the “performative society,” it becomes a significant task for educators to find ways to assist students in becoming more active and critical spectators.

This unique book is presented in seven chapters that survey how audience has been taken up (or ignored) across many disciplines, including aesthetic philosophy, performance theory, cultural studies, and arts education. Drawing on key findings discovered in this extensive literature review, the author goes on to present a number of chapters that theorize how spectatorship may become a central concern of curriculum through committed and teacher-facilitated attendance of live performance. These performance experiences—which may be community-based or professional—then serve as catalysts for creative postperformance interactions with artists and further classroom explorations.

Throughout the text, the author makes use of an emergent arts-based methodology called poetic inquiry. The poems she creates offer readers other perspectives on the investigation and act as a reminder that cultural performance, like poetry, is an aesthetic event that calls us to attention, to wide-awakeness in the world.

Teaching Spectatorship is a groundbreaking study that makes a critical contribution to the fields of performance studies, curriculum theory, and drama/theatre education.


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