Historically and contemporaneously, the role of audiences in South Korean performing arts has been inherently interactive. The T’alch’um (mask dance) and P’ansori (Korean traditional solo opera) were mainly performed in the madang, a marketplace or courtyard; an environment which fostered a more interactive role for the audience who took on a vital role as participants. The madang has a collective nature in that it is a shared place: a “we” occurs among the crowd creating Durkheim’s collective effervescence. In this new millennium, the Korean theatre and performing arts’ audience have re-situated their interactive performance into the public square, replicating the same spirit of critical discourse and civil unrest that is the hallmark of pre-modern performance. This article gives a brief introduction to and overview of the interactive role of traditional theatre audiences since the Joseon Dynasty (1392–1897) in the madang and then explores how contemporary South Korean audiences also perform inherited historical audience behaviour. The chapter concludes with an example of public square madang audience community performances: The Plaza Theatre in the Black Tent, in response to the unconstitutional conservative government artist “blacklist” of 2016–17.
Keywords: Audiences, Korean theatre, political theatre, Interactivity, protest
Traditional Korean theatre performance was an interactive audience-performer forum where ritual, spirituality and folklore combined to create a celebratory experience that intersected with the quotidian. Contemporary South Korean theatre borrows from this rich history and, unlike western contemporary theatre, interactivity continues to be a principal component. Due to this, it has also evolved into a place of protest as the audience voice is not only an important co-creator of the performance text; it is central. This article briefly discusses the multifarious history of traditional Korean theatre and its evolution into modern and then contemporary theatre. Important Korean concepts such as shinmyŏng and han are introduced in the context of kut (shamanic ritual) before the madang (yard), and its related theatrical form madanggŭk is introduced to describe the corporeal interactive roles audiences play. The article concludes with a case study of a contemporary performance illustrating the value of protest in the madang: The Plaza Theatre in the Black Tent project that occurred in 2017.
Interactivity and Resistance in Korean Performance
Ritual Performance and Daily Life in Pre-modern Korea
In pre-modern Korean performance, the boundaries between ritual and daily life, the spiritual and the ecstatic, and performance as a form of worship and instruction, were nebulous as the performers and audience co-created. Kim Moon-hwan identifies the prototype for many performance forms indigenous to the Korean peninsula as existing in rituals undertaken throughout history as a means of communicating with and gaining the blessing of the spiritual world (14).
Lee Yong-Shik describes shamanism as a collective term referring to the “folk magico-religious tradition” that employs rituals that intersect private, domestic, and communal life in Korea (1). At the centre of this tradition is the spiritual experience of the shaman (17) who, through their rites of metamorphosis, can be seen to symbolise an innate “human desire for transcendence” (T. Kim 21). By the twentieth century, shamanism had become a useful term for Western scholars and missionaries to employ in classifying mugyo, those indigenous spiritual practices of Korea that did not obviously fit within what were understood as the boundaries of Buddhism, Confucianism and Daoism (Howard).
Lee Yong-Shik points to shamanism as playing a key role as the “carrier of traditional culture” (1) in Korea, with Lee Bo-hyung describing its rituals as being undertaken historically as part of village life, where “everyday people” would provide guidance to the shaman and join them in performing much of the ceremony themselves (53). These participatory events started to evolve as troupes of musicians and dancers emerged who specialised in the performance of the rituals. It was these troupes that brought what once were private conversations with local deities, out into the courtyards and marketplaces (54).
Kim Moon-hwan considers the performative elements of these rituals as the “fountainhead” of Korea’s traditional performing arts (14), with Lee Yong-Shik describing them as giving rise to specifically codified forms of “drama, music, dance, myth, and epic poem” (1). Kim Moon-hwan observes, however, that spiritual and performance practices are often so interconnected in Korea that it is hard for them to be categorised separately (14).
This tightly woven relationship between forms of cultural expression and performance practices is not as common in the West, where “high art” and “low art” are often rendered as distinct (Levine), and Kim Moon-hwan goes on to explain that while the performative rituals of shamanism may appear to western audiences to be bound too closely to daily life to be classified as art, they are not unique to Korea. Many “pre-modern societies” turn to ritual performance in order to “understand the workings of nature” at the same time as attempting to “live in harmony with the supernatural order thought to rule nature” (14). Kim Moon-hwan continues by describing early Korean dance-dramas as being performed without any clear distinction between the entertainers and their audience (24), a quality that is echoed in the modern staging of Korean shamanic rituals, often performed by mudang alongside dancers and amateur enthusiasts (Van Zile).
Shinmyŏng, a Korean Manifestation of Collective Effervescence
Sociologist Émile Durkheim described the state of communal congregation of crowds as often creating a “collective effervescence” where “the vital energies become hyper-excited, the passions more intense, the sensations more powerful [and people] feel somehow transformed” (424).
The ecstatic, communal, post-ritual celebrations—considered to be the prototype for traditional Korean performance—can be seen as a manifestation of collective effervescence. Further, they are often connected to Aristotle’s notion of catharsis (Freda), described by Kim Moon-hwan as being classically understood in the West as the “object of tragedy” (22). In this application, both ecstasy and catharsis refer to the necessity of escape and release, whether based on “a consciousness of the past” or on an “appreciation of tragedy.” According to Kim Moon-hwan, traditional dance-dramas are embodiments of the three basic states of conflict, laughter and joy (24). In contrast to the Ancient Greek “conservative concept of fate,” they embody a version that is connected to history, a love of life and an investment in the positive nature of humanity.
Whilst the term shinmyŏng can be understood in Korean shamanic contexts as meaning a literal possession of the body by the gods (Chai Hee-wan 150), in terms of Korean performance practices it has been articulated as the “spiritual or psychological product of the struggle against destructive conditions and unjust realities of life” (151), or the “experiential sentiment of being exhilarated, captivated, and excited” (Choi Won Sun 55) that accompanies “embodied and reflexive artistic experiences.” There is even evidence that shinmyŏng is itself a creative force of transformation, that the action and interaction of ritual performance encourages supplicants and audience members to effect change in their everyday lives (Han).
Lee Yong-Shik argues that these two aspects of shinmyŏng—as both shamanic ecstasy and an aesthetic experience of transcendence—have been employed by contemporary cultural activists who, through the revival and repurposing of shamanic ritual, “achieve not only a sense of communal solidarity but also gain the energy to struggle together against the exploitative class” (46). The thinly veiled overtones of South Korean nationalism contained in the rhetoric surrounding modern and contemporary discussions of shinmyŏng and the closely related concept of han, defined below, are, however, not lost on authors such as Lee Yong-Shik and Freda.
The Ritualisation of Harmony
Shim Jung-soon writes that exploring the concept of han is “one way of approaching an understanding of the collective unconscious of the Korean people” (216). Freda argues that han as a term is widely held to be untranslatable, as its dictionary definition of “grudge, resentment, rancour,” steals it of any culturally embedded significance (11). This contributes to its mythical standing in contemporary Korea, where it is held up as the “unique essence of Korean national character” running through every facet of life: art, culture, history, spirituality and economic development.
McAllister-Viel explains that han contains “complex understandings of layered emotions” (100), which Shim Jung-soon (2004) characterises as constituting a “collective trauma” which has been transmitted “from generation to generation in Korea” (216). Han is steeped in a nationalism that treats it as “historical memory” (Freda 12)—one that recalls the suffering of the Korean people at the hands of successive waves of imperialism, colonialism, civil war and rapidly transformational modernity under the control of dictators both foreign and domestic (Shim Jung-soon). Freda recommends that han be granted its mythical status in order to move towards discussions regarding its significance as a frame for understanding the ways that Korean culture “intersects with modernity, the West, and the legacy that is its own past,” with Lee Yong-Shik describing han and shinmyŏng as inextricably linked: “Clearly, the core of Korean shamanism is the ritualization of harmony, i.e., the harmony between the human beings and nature and between the practice of han and shinmyeong—the two national ethos of the Koreans” (47).
Kim Moon-hwan summarises the Korean sense of aesthetic as a cheerful pleasure that is intertwined with han, the “mixture of grief and longing” (24) that is so deeply embedded in Korean culture and the psyche of its people, with Shim Jung-soon writing that han has “traditionally been associated with negative and defeatist attitudes born of a sense of power-lessness, sorrow, and destiny” (217).
Freda describes the rituals of the shaman, t’alch’um (masked dance), and the epic solo storytelling form of p’ansori as all serving to “recount in a cathartic manner” the ways that feelings of resentment are accumulated; they provide the means by which han may be loosened and liberated and “resolve the han of the people” (31–32). The harnessing of han as a liberationary force in South Korea began to take root in the 1970s, a change initiated by the twin labour rights and nationalist movements that struggled against successive military regimes in order to express new visions for “overcoming social and political inequalities” (Shim Jung-soon 217). It was at this time too that the shamanic ritual of the kut underwent a period of revival and repurposing for nationalistic purposes, functioning as: “an underground forum for the masses”; in effect, it created a liminal space beyond the official culture, where a collective resistance was generated against oppressive military regimes and imperialistic foreign intervention in Korean affairs” (217).
Han is often understood by Koreans as a knotted force whose disentanglement is not sought through “acts of revenge, but through ethical and artistic transcendence” (217). The method of this disentangling is the aforementioned principle of shinmyŏng, which is experienced in many forms of traditional Korean performance, and in the kut in particular. Shinmyŏng can be understood to precipitate collective expressions of han, provoking “positive emotional states” in the face of the “ingrained grief and strained lamentation” of han (Choi 55), and it provides Koreans with a discourse that puts at its heart “a driving force for self-improvement and resistance” (Chai 150).
It is also important to note that the way in which shinmyŏng manifests is not entirely tragic, with comedy, parody and satire being an important aspect of traditional Korean performance that seeks to precipitate han, and in particular in mask-dance dramas such as t’alch’um or t’alnori, and also in p’ansori. What is essential to these forms of performance is the madang, or the yard, which constitutes not only the stage but also the meeting place for the audience, who interacts actively with the performers. As argued by Lee Hyon-u, “one of the most representative characteristics of traditional Korean theatre . . . is this interactivity, afforded by the madang, which has had a profound effect on the modern theatre of South Korea” (41). This is the space where not only we witness “audience performance” (Heim, Audience as Performer), but where the distinction between performers and audience is amorphous, it emerges as a fertile site for protest, collective performance and ecstatic celebration. In the collective effervescence, the performers and audience are not only transformed themselves, but “transform [their] surroundings” (Durkheim 242) as seen in the contemporary audience performances in South Korean theatre.
Protest and Interactivity in Contemporary South Korean Theatre
Wetmore, Liu and Mee, in their overview Modern Korean Theatre, assert that unlike other cultures of East Asia and the subcontinent, Korea’s forms of performative expression were not typically documented as dramatic literature. Korea’s dynamic, oral and interactive folk performance traditions existed for centuries as ongoing social and political commentary and a form of resistance to constant invasive forces. As living traditions, they were simultaneously secure from material destruction under Japanese colonial rule and precarious in that their embodied custodianship by generations of knowledge-holders was vulnerable to the mass loss of life of the Korean War. This is not to say that these traditions have encountered modernity unscathed, but, as Kendall points out, South Korean shamans do not struggle to revive practices that were almost lost; rather they engage meaningfully with the contemporary world through their rites and practices. Successive anti-superstition campaigns were undertaken by Confucian rulers, Christian missionaries and Japanese colonial agents.
However, it was under the 1970s military dictatorship of President Park Chunghee and his political doctrine of Saemaŭl undong (New Community Movement) that the most “pernicious” persecution of shamanic practices took place, with violent clashes and public education campaigns causing “much of the South Korean population to regard their shamanic heritage as ‘superstition’” (Kendall). This was also a time of oppressive government censorship of artistic expression:
In the 1970s, artistic experiment and political engagement dominated the modern drama, but the artists were playing a dangerous game. Any play seemingly critical of the government, the police or the military, or supportive of socialism or North Korea would be suspect and often closed down. Martial law, censorship and an overall culture of repression paradoxically made it difficult to speak out and drove playwrights, directors, actors and designers to use the theatre to make political statements, albeit often, but not always, obliquely.Wetmore, Liu and Mee
As Lee Hyon-u has observed, despite successive waves of colonial persecution and state-sanctioned censorship, not only has traditional Korean performance been continuously performed in South Korea, but, in the 1970s and into the early 1980s, it was modernised into the aforementioned form known as madanggŭk, or yard play (43). Driven by reflections on and reactions to the colonial period, madanggŭk “actively inherited the festive nature of traditional performance,” including being performed on sites of public assembly (Lee Yeong-mi). These performances in the open air of the madang or in a tent were Korea’s indigenous answer to agit-prop drama, presenting social issues in the form of biting satire, and the form plays “a significant role in engaging audiences in political issues and popular protest” (Jeong 293).
Madanggŭk, which rejects the illusionism of Western theatre, plays with empty spaces and trivial props with minimal stage equipment. Its playfulness is completed by the voluntary participation of the gathered audience, thus strengthening the audiences’ collectiveness and awareness through the active negotiation of their methods of self-expression and a common social awareness.Lee Yeong-mi
The role of madanggŭk in the push for democracy during the post-war period is well documented:
Beginning on university campuses in the late 1970s and spreading throughout the nation after the Kwangju Uprising, madanggŭk was an anti-establishment, satirical form that focused on individual rights, the problems of rural communities, resistance to the American presence in Korea, environmental problems, class conflicts (especially between labour and management) and the divided Korean peninsula. The contradictions and conflicts exposed by the Kwangju uprising were viciously and satirically lampooned by the performers. Madanggŭk was the most popular dramatic form in the 1980s.Wetmore
In many ways, this can be seen as the New Wave of Korean theatre, not dissimilar to the New Wave theatre movements in Western countries such as the United States in the 1930s and Australia in the 1970s. The 1980s in South Korea was the same period during which kut was being revived, and han was undergoing its transformation into a nationalising force, and so it is no wonder that these sentiments and practices made their way into the modern South Korean theatre.
Following the patterns of traditional Korean performance in the madang, an oft-used tactic in modern and contemporary South Korean theatre is to orient actors to face the audience, breaking the fourth wall not necessarily as direct address but as seen in the practice of one prominent director “a re-imagining of the audience as a mirror through which the actors can calculate the angle of their gaze in order to connect to other members of the ensemble” (Neideck 351).
As Jeong notes, “South Korea has a strong culture of activism and protest, and the country’s sociopolitical conditions have motivated artists to create works that challenge the status quo” (293). The complex interplay between protest and performance cannot be characterised as unidirectional because as Park and Neideck have previously observed, “modern South Korean protests are almost like a ritual performance” (72). This is something that is not at all lost on contemporary makers of political theatrical interventions such as those at the Plaza Theatre in the Black Tent, and neither are the resonances to the ancient democratic roots of Western performance:
The Greek theatre was an outdoor theatre. It is known for its wild play. Theatre unfolded at the agora (plaza), and it was also a communication tool containing the voices of the people. The theatre of the Joseon Dynasty also brought catharsis through humor and satire in the madang where people gathered. This was also the case with madanggŭk of universities in the 1980s and 1990s. It was full of laughter and criticism through satire during the era of harsh military dictatorship. Often, the actors and the audience mingled together to shout slogans and applaud together. The Plaza Theatre in the Black Tent, which was temporarily set up, reminded me of that feeling again.Seong
Displays of protest in these New Wave performances were not only characterised by their use of satire to critique the state of worker’s rights, the “comfort women” issue and other legacies of colonial rule and military dictatorships during South Korea’s rapid economic growth, during the “Miracle on the Han River” (1981–1997) and subsequent Asian Economic Crisis, but were a celebration of audience and performer communion and autonomy, the collective effervescence creating an “electric air” made up of “liveness, electricity and atmosphere” (Heim, Actors and Audiences 41), an experience that was cathartic and liberating.
Case Study: Plaza Theatre in the Black Tent
Kwangjanggŭkchang Pŭllaek t’ent’ŭ (Plaza Theatre in the Black Tent, but from here we will refer to it as the Black Tent Theatre) opened on 16 January 2017. The Black Tent Theatre presented a total of 72 performances over 71 days, which involved 400 volunteer performers and reached 3,373 audience members (Mun). For most of the members of the Black Tent Theatre Steering Committee, this “artistic performance of occupancy” (Im 321) was a response to the unconstitutional “blacklisting” of artists by the Park Geun-hye government:
Many artists were specifically placed on the list because they expressed their sympathy for the victims of the Sewol ferry disaster and concerns for the Park administration’s incompetent rescue operation either through their statements or their creative works. As a way of censoring the artists on the list, the cultural ministry had tried to exclude the listed artists from receiving government subsidies.Kim Jae Kyoung 124
The framing of the performance, the significance of the site chosen, the atmosphere and the audience performance subsumed old traditions and new as the Gwanghwamun Plaza in downtown Seoul was transformed into a madang, a site where, in the words of one of the performers “we can communicate and breathe with the public” (Seong). To best describe this audience and performer experience, the words of those involved—artists, producers, audience members, critics—have been employed to illustrate most succinctly the ways in which the Black Tent Theatre invoked han before attempting to unknot and unravel it using collective experiences of shinmyŏng through the public kut of the theatrical event.
Framing of Performance
As Kim Jae Kyoung notes, the Black Tent Theatre is situated in a continuum of global protest activity including the Occupy Movement and the Umbrella Movement, but its location in Gwanghwamun Plaza is loaded for anyone familiar with contemporary protest activity in South Korea. Frequented not only by commuters and employees of the surrounding arts centres, foreign embassies, historical places of interest and megastores, the Plaza is also home to regular “Saturday vigils, various cultural events including exhibitions, performances, and concerts, great and small” (123) that seek to directly intervene in a wide range of political issues from across the ideological spectrum. The Black Tent Theatre “allowed both the performers and the audience to experience a rare emotional bond through collective remembering of their aching past.”
Significance of the Site
As director Kim Jae-yup wrote in his report of the 2 February 2017 performance of Kŏmyŏrŏnŏŭi chŏngch’ihak: tu kaeŭi kungmin (The Politics of Censored Language: Two Kinds of Citizen), the Black Tent Theatre throws into stark relief the relative luxury of contemporary theatre venues:
The noise and the chill of the Plaza make me look back on how stable and comfortable the theatres are that I have been working in. In addition, it makes me realise how separated the arts I’ve been creating are from real life. The noise and the chill keeps the senses alive. On seeing the white breath of the actors, the audience feels a living breath. The audience communicates closely through the language that is heard as it clashes with the noise. Noise and chills are painful, but they are the senses of life that sustain the present.Kim Jae-yeop
The playwright Lee Yang-Gu notes also that:
Although the tent was shabby, still it was majestic. The Black Tent sensuously revealed the real world that we hadn’t been able to see in the public theatres run by the Park Geun-Hye regime.qtd. in Mun
This revelation of the “real world” as a relationship between “ordinary” theatre and the Black Tent is a theme that is picked up by director and producer Hong Ye-Won, whose description of togetherness and atmosphere recalls Heim’s “electric air”:
If it was an ordinary theatre, it would have had all the negative elements that make it hard to perform. However, we set up a theatre in order to perform, to live in the moment together, and to watch theatre together. So, I loved the unique atmosphere and the Black Tent’s environment where everything from the Plaza was shared, such as noise, temperature, wind, and even smell.Hong Ye-Won
As Heim argues “the political underpinnings embedded in some plays add to the extra charge of tension in the electric air” (Actors and Audiences 49), a point illustrated by Lee Sung jae’s post to the Black Tent Theatre Archive on 2 March 2017: “I hope that these artists’ and our audience’s energy that fills the tent will be delivered with enormous weight to those who are truly guilty so that they will never get back the power in this country.”
The performers of the Black Tent Theatre and their audiences were part of a durational community of protest in Gwanghwamun Plaza, some of whom—such as families of victims of the Sewol Ferry disaster and striking factory workers—had been occupying the site for months as part of a tent village:
It was not a particular moment [that we felt a shared sense of community]. It was a period. From the beginning to the end, artists, the audience, and the fired workers of the strike camping village, everybody in the Plaza became one.Hong Ye-Won, personal communication
This sense of “oneness” is not merely a convenient metaphor. As Lee Yang-gu describes, the protest community collaborated in the physical labour of establishing the Black Tent Theatre:
In the snowy Gwanghwamun Plaza, playwrights, mime artists, artists, citizens including laborers, built the Plaza Theatre in the Black Tent together and in so doing, they became the owners and audience of the theatre. Citizens became owners and audiences who visited the Black Tent Theatre every day and filled the seats.Lee Yang-gu
The collaboration between performer and audience in the theatrical event is captured in the following entry in the Black Tent Theatre Archive on 10 February 2017, evocatively titled Pin mudaewa saeroun shijak (Empty Stage and a New Beginning):
There were 104 people in the audience for today’s performance. Among the audience, there was a farmer who had slaughtered 20 cows due to foot-and-mouth disease. During the scene of singing Jindo Arirang, unexpectedly, that farmer came up on stage with flushed cheeks and told his devastating story, then an actor held his hand and sang Jindo Arirang with him. In the end, he peacefully went back to his seat.Black Tent Theatre Crew
The song referenced in the scene above is a regional version of Korea’s quintessential national folk tune Arirang, which has been described by Kwon as “best reveal(ing) the Korean people” (11), and in 2012 was granted status as a UNESCO Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. For those not familiar with traditional Korean forms of arts and cultural expression, it may be hard to imagine its significance, laced as it is with layered meanings: from the romantic pastoral scene of farmers singing Arirang during hard labour (Maliangkay 53), to the glorification of the lonely life of the travelling folk singer in the iconic 1993 film Sopyeonjae, to the use of folk songs in worker’s rights protests since the 1970s in South Korea. These resonances, which help bind the performers and their audience together as they co-create meaning in the Black Tent, can, however, be felt in Jindo Arirang’s most frequently sung verses:
If people live, they will live for hundreds of years;
Although this is a very tough world, let’s live in harmony
What is this mountain pass, is it the one called Moongyungsejae?
Tears are flowing from my eyes at every turning point
I lead a wandering life, following the song;
All so that we can try to resolve deep layers of worry and sorrow
Just as there are many bright and shining stars in the clear sky,
we carry hope in our heart
The Plaza Theatre in the Black Tent was a potent example of the centrality of audience interaction in contemporary South Korean theatre where the conversations in the electric air between audience and performers in the madang emerged as the performance. As theatre critic Kim So-Yon described, “In the end, the important thing is how much dialogue we could create with the audience.”
This dialogue with the audience, marrying the ecstatic catharsis of the shinmyŏng with the quotidian of the han, emerged as an embodied and sometimes verbal protest in the madang. Lime In-Ja, an independent producer of the project, argued that this privileging of the audience voice through the liberation of previously “marginalized voices” evoked the “original function of theatre,” as it was in pre-modern Korean theatre “bring[ing] back the very essence of theatre” as “a gathering.”
Contemporary South Korean performances such as these not only continue the imperatives of pre-modern Korean theatre but extend them and celebrate them. They emerge as a creative protest in the madang, embodying all the previously silenced “worry and sorrow” and act as a vehicle to “carry hope” in the heart.
 We follow the lead, here, of Elizabeth W. Son, who maintains consistent use of quotation marks to contain the term “comfort women” in order to highlight the inadequacy of this euphemism for enforced sex slave which is widely contested and denounced by survivors and activists (17).
 We are choosing to contain the term “blacklist” in quotation marks in order to maintain fidelity to the way that this unconstitutional government register artists was discussed in the South Korean media, while highlighting the term’s innately racist connotations.
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*Younghee Park is an independent artist working as a performer, director, facilitator and educator, with over 25 years of professional experience in a broad range of settings, including adult and children’s theatre, film and television in South Korea, Australia, America, Japan, Germany and China. Younghee specialises in bilingual theatre, especially for children and families, and has trained in traditional Korean music and dance, and studied pansori (traditional Korean opera) under the tutelage of National Living Treasure, Han Seung-ho. Recently, Younghee has emerged as a prominent voice in the Korean #MeToo movement and works as an activist, helping to dismantle environments in which abuse can flourish in the theatre and film industries. Younghee is currently undertaking a Master of Philosophy at Queensland University of Technology titled “Theatre Making in the Age of #MeToo: A Framework for Making Safe Creative Spaces.”
**Jeremy Neideck is a lecturer in Theatre at QUT and an Early Career Researcher. He is a performance maker and academic who has worked between Australia and Korea for fifteen years, investigating the interweaving of cultures in performance and the modelling of new and inclusive social realities. He has undertaken residencies at The National Art Studio of Korea, The National Changgeuk Company of Korea and The Necessary Stage (Singapore). His work for Motherboard Productions has been nominated for a Matilda award and sold-out seasons at Metro Arts, Brisbane Festival, World Theatre Festival, HiSeoul Festival and the Seoul International Dance Festival (SiDANCE). Jeremy holds a PhD from Queensland University of Technology (QUT), where he currently teaches across the disciplines of acting, drama, music and dance.
***Caroline Heim is an Associate Professor in Drama in the Creative Industries Faculty at QUT. Caroline’s PhD (University of Queensland) explored and trialled a new model for post-performance discussions. Her primary areas of research are theatre audiences and actor-audience psychological conversations. Caroline has written two books: Audience as Performer: The Changing Role of Theatre Audiences in the Twenty-First Century (Routledge, 2016) and Actors and Audiences: Conversations in the Electric Air (Routledge, 2020). Her forthcoming book Building Resilient Realtionships: Hyperindividuality, Social Isolation and the Mental Health Crisis will be published in Routledge’s Mental Health Professionals series in 2022. She has published in various international journals. Before entering academia, Caroline graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Art in New York with a Drama League Award. She worked as a performer on the New York and major U.S. capital city stages in lead roles for seven years.
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Critical Stages/Scènes critiques e-ISSN: 2409-7411
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