Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC San Diego

UC San Diego Electronic Theses and Dissertations bannerUC San Diego

Imagining a more engaged spectator: imagination as active participation in performance


Much has been written about the work that a spectator does in direct physical relationship to live performance. Distinctions are made between active and passive spectatorship and these distinctions typically fall along the lines of the Cartesian mind/body divide. This project seeks to destabilize the binary distinction between physical participation and allegedly passive reception. Using the imagination of the spectator as the fulcrum upon which this allegedly passive spectatorship can be recast as an active co-creation of the performance event. Using the philosophical writings of Kendall Walton, as well as theories from spectatorship studies, reader response theory, and material culture, this project sets out to redefine the types of active participation that have heretofore been considered passive. By including close readings of several performances, as well as phenomenological experiences as an audience member, this study seeks to expand the ways in which practitioners and thinkers alike conceptualize and respond to the activated spectator.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View