At a time when so many options exist for access to theatrical entertainments, it is no surprise that theatre practitioners and scholars are often preoccupied with the role of the audience. While space undoubtedly impacts the rehearsal and production processes, its greater significance seems to rest in the impact a specific location has on the audience.
This volume provides diverse viewpoints on theatre and space, as well as its relationship to the audience. Sebastian Trainor and Samuel T. Shanks offer contemporary perspectives on two ancient theatre spaces, while Lisa Marie Bowler describes the Globe Theatre, a replica of the original, as embodying a kind of absence despite its rich link to the past. Focusing on distinctly different periods and settings, both Andrew Gibb and Christine Woodworth describe a politics of space in which specific players gain prestige and power. Chase Bringardner identifies the audience as playing an important role in creating a space for parody in a historic Nashville venue, while Arnab Banerji describes an exhausting process for members of the Bengali group theatre who must continually move from space to space. Finally, Alicia Corts discusses virtual performance spaces and the degree to which participants are able to control their online identities within virtual performances. Bookending these eight essays are Marvin Carlson’s keynote presentation “Whose Space Is It Anyway?” and his closing remarks for the symposium, both of which allude to, and richly explicate, the ultimate arbiters of theatrical space: the audience.