1st Edition

Experiential Theatres Praxis-Based Approaches to Training 21st Century Theatre Artists

Edited By William W. Lewis, Sean Bartley Copyright 2023
    298 Pages 22 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    298 Pages 22 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Experiential Theatres is a collaboratively edited and curated collection that delivers key insights into the processes of developing experiential performance projects and the pedagogies behind training theatre artists of the twenty-first century.

    Experiential refers to practices where the audience member becomes a crucial member of the performance world through the inclusion of immersion, participation, and play. As technologies of communication and interactivity have evolved in the postdigital era, so have modes of spectatorship and performance frameworks. This book provides readers with pedagogical tools for experiential theatre making that address these shifts in contemporary performance and audience expectations. Through case studies, interviews, and classroom applications the book offers a synthesis of theory, practical application, pedagogical tools, and practitioner guidance to develop a praxis-based model for university theatre educators training today’s theatre students.

    Experiential Theatres presents a holistic approach for educators and students in areas of performance, design, technology, dramaturgy, and theory to help guide them through the processes of making experiential performance.

    Experiential Theatres: An Introduction

    William W. Lewis and Sean Bartley

    Section 1: Collaborative Experience Making and Interactive Performance Practice

    1.Frameworks for Making And Performing in Experiential Performance

    William W. Lewis and Valerie Clayman Pye

    2. Designing Play: Game Techniques in Experiential and Interactive Performance

    Adrienne Mackey

    3. Framework Design: A Curatorial Approach to Teaching Participatory Performance

    Jamie Harper

    4. Intimacy in Play: Training Actors for Agentic Symmetry in Unscripted Interactions

    Amanda Rose Villarreal

    5. Experiential Theatres and The Value Of Rethinking Theatre Education: A Conversation with Performers and Interactive Theatre Makers on Developing Methods for Collaborative Experience Making

    William W. Lewis and Valerie Clayman Pye with Matt Adams, Bruce Barton, Pill Hansen, Khalia Davis, Marisol Rosa-Shapiro, Julianne Just, Jenny Weinbloom and Mia Rovegno

    6. Facilitating Narrative Agency in Experiential Theatre

    Astrid Breel

    7. Training the Actor for Roleplay and Other Improv-Based Interactive Theatre Forms

    David Kaye

    8. Standardized Patient Experience: Reframing Pedagogical Approaches to the Acting Studio

    Matthew Mastromatteo

    9. The Significance of ‘Role-Play’ And ‘Instruction-Based Performance’ as Modes of Teaching, Collaborating, and Performing with/for Participating Audiences

    Kesia Guillery, Persis Jadé Maravala, and Jorge Lopes Ramos

    10. Collaborative Development Workshop: Approaching Conceptualization through Audience Affordances and Experiential Trajectories

    William W. Lewis

    11. A Postdigital Response: User Experience Design, Interactive, Immersive, And Mixed Reality Performance

    Lindsay Brandon Hunter and Steve Luber

    Section 2: Narrative and Dramaturgy for Experiential Forms

    12. Models for Experiential Training in Playwriting And Dramaturgy

    Sean Bartley and Marshall Botvinick

    13. Mapping Narrative in Pig Iron Theatre Company’s Pay Up and Franklin’s Secret City

    Robert Quillen Camp

    14. The Dramaturgy of Tabletop Roleplaying Games

    Mike Sell

    15. Rasa in This Is Not A Theatre Company’s Experiential Productions

    Erin B. Mee

    16. Reconfiguring Narrative and Experiential Dramaturgy: A Conversation with Professional Educators and Dramaturgs on the Future(S) Of Storytelling

    Sean Bartley and Marshal Botvinick with Gary Garrison, Mark Bly, Carly Dwyer, and Jason Warren

    17. Wildwind Performance Lab: New Play Development through Abstraction

    Sarah Johnson

    18. It’s Okay to Not be "Right":  Incorporating Creative Thinking into Theatrical Partnerships

    Rachel E. Bauer

    19. Theatrical Immersion within Alternate Reality Games

    Hans Vermy

    20. A Postdigital Response: Experiential Dramaturgies of Online Theatre, Cyberformance and Digital Texts

    Christina Papagiannouli

    Section 3: Performance Technologies and Design Thinking

    21. Pedagogies for Design Thinking and Experiential Technologies

    Bruce Bergner and Rich Dionne

    22. Storyliving: A Creative Process

    Justin Stichter

    23. Theatre Majors and Immersive Technology: An Interview with HP’s Joanna Popper

    E. B. Hunter

    24. Interaction and Extended Somatechnics

    Johannes Birringer

    25. A Design Roundtable: The Creative Process of Experience

    Bruce Bergner, Rich Dionne, and William W. Lewis with Jim Doyle, Adam Bezark, Danny Byerley, Dave Dooperstein and Drew Campbell

    26. Playing with the Past: Pirates in the College Classroom

    Samantha A. Meigs

    27. Unlocking Formal Qualities to Discover the Iconography in Visual Design

    Stephen Jones

    28. Designing an Interactive Production: A Practical Walkthrough

    Liz Fisher

    29. A Postdigital Response to Performance Technologies and Design Thinking

    Hans Vermy and Eric Hoff

    30. An Afterword: Experience and Theatre Education

    William W. Lewis and Sean Bartley


    William W. Lewis, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Theatre History, Literature, and Criticism at Purdue University. His research focuses on spectatorship, politics, digital cultures, and experiential performance. As a scholar-artist he also utilizes practice-based research, where he integrates interactive technologies into live performance to better understand the relationships between contemporary audiences and mediatized culture. He has published in Theatre Topics, Performance research, GPS: Global Performance Studies, The International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media, and Theatre Research International. Recent book chapters have appeared in New Directions in Teaching Theatre Arts (Palgrave, eds. Anne Flitosos and Gail S. Medford) and Avatars, Activism and Postdigital Performance (Bloomsbury, eds. Liam Jarvis and Karen Savage). Will is the founding co-editor of PARtake: The Journal of Performance as Research.

    Sean Bartley, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Theatre History at Northwestern State University. His research centers around contemporary site-specific, ambulatory, and immersive theatre practices and sports as performance. His work has been featured in TDR: The Drama Review, Theatre History Studies, Theatre Journal, PARtake: The Journal of Performance as Research, and Borrowers and Lenders: The Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation. Recent book chapters include "You’re Out! Presence and Absence at the Ballpark" in Sporting Performances: Politics in Play (Routledge, ed. Shannon Walsh) and "The President Makes a Play: Putin and Erdogan’s Sporting Diplomacy" with Jared Strange in Performing Statecraft: The Postdiplomatic Theatre of Sovereigns, Citizens, and States (Bloomsbury, ed. James R. Ball III).

    “As new technologies present themselves, their use value extends only as far as they can contribute to processes that increase democratization, equity, and inclusion in the theatre. That contribution requires the type of scaffolding found in Lewis and Bartley’s collection. Social media, large language models, virtual and hybrid presence(s), and their ilk require absorption and integration with theatrical activity to the point that they respond to creative inputs and manipulations. Experiential Theatres illuminates this moment in unique ways that will undoubtedly prove useful to faculty, students, and curricular designers looking to reimagine their relationship to technology, pedagogy, narrative, and the experiential.”

    Paul MastersBoston Conservatory at Berklee

    "The book offers an incredibly useful codification and categorization of experiential theatre practice… the innovative structure of this edited collection makes a significant stride forward in how researchers, artists, and teachers draw together scholarship, artistic practice, and pedagogical insight to offer new knowledge to the field. What is most refreshing and exciting about this volume is how the editors have curated and structured the work to reflect their manifesto for theatre and performance pedagogy."

    Sarah Weston, New Theatre Quarterly