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AbstractThis thesis proposes that the theory of aesthetic agency derived from gaming in digital culture may be used as a lens through which live theatre and performance may be analysed. I argue that the aesthetics, immersion and play with identity in live theatre and performance are informed by digital culture through the behaviour and agency of the participants, be they audience or participants. Using a grounded theory methodological approach, four large-scale outdoor immersive productions and two traditional theatrical productions have been selected to provide a comparative analysis using aesthetic agency. Aesthetic agency is central to the analysis of immersion and play with identity in the productions selected. Comprising intention, perceivable consequence, narrative potential, transformation, co-presence and presence aesthetic agency is the feeling of pleasure audience and participants derive through the experience of live theatre and performance. Analysis using aesthetic agency in immersive productions examines qualities such as interaction and participation, discovery, understanding social rules, proximity to points of engagement within the performance, the use of narrative or gameplay, liminality and the suspension of disbelief and the use of physical or imaginary boundaries. Aesthetic agency in play with identity uses qualities of transportation, presence and co-presence and is analysed using themes of liminality, ritual, agency and memory which offer the opportunity of real experience within the virtual environments. The outcomes of the study highlight the opportunities to analyse and understand the meaning making process in live theatre and performance in a new manner through the lens of aesthetic agency derived from digital culture. Through examples, the outcomes show how digital culture theory may be used in live theatre and performance to examine and explain the experience for spectators and participants. The future use of aesthetic agency as a dramaturgical tool then becomes a possibility which may enhance the development process and enrich the subsequent experience of spectators and participants. Further, aesthetic agency may find utility as a dramaturgical tool when used to aid the creation of new live productions.
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted to the University of Wolverhampton in partial fulfilment of the requirement of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
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