Watching, attending, sense-making: spectatorship in immersive theatres

Machon, Josephine ORCID: (2016) Watching, attending, sense-making: spectatorship in immersive theatres. Journal of Contemporary Drama in English, 4 (1) . pp. 34-48. ISSN 2195-0156 [Article] (doi:10.1515/jcde-2016-0004)

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This paper addresses the aesthetic, corporeal and intellectual dimensions of spectatorship in immersive theatre. Immersive work engages audiences at an experiential level and within environments that prompt multisensory engagement and explorative forms of audience participation. Immersive theatre makers, such as De La Guarda, dreamthinkspeak and Punchdrunk, have been making internationally recognised work throughout the twenty-first century. While audience interaction and participation has attracted a great deal of scholarly attention over the past few years, the significance of watching in immersive theatre remains elusive and merits further consideration. Drawing on Immersive Theatres (Machon, 2013) and referencing a full range of practice that is exemplary, this paper describes and defines ‘immersive theatres’ in broad terms. Using Punchdrunk’s The Drowned Man (2014-15) as illustration, it considers the types of experience to be had and the qualities of watching that result in such events. In turn it addresses the type of ‘sense’ individuals can make when they are spectators to their own interactions, attendant to their actions and reactions.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Media and Performing Arts > Performing Arts > Theatre Arts group
Item ID: 20023
Notes on copyright: The final publication is available at
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Depositing User: Josephine Machon
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2016 13:08
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2021 11:54

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