Spectrum of participation : using frames to create museum theatre

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2016-12

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Arffmann, Jennifer Lily

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Abstract

Museum theatre is being utilized more as education departments in museums are looking for new meaning-making opportunities that seek to place visitors at the center of the museum experience. Looking at a performance called Blurred Memories created by a university student ensemble and performed at a local museum in Austin, Texas over three different performance sessions, this MFA thesis document explores the research question: What factors shape how an audience responds to a participatory museum theatre performance? The reception of the performance by a mixed-aged family audience was documented through participant observation tools, pre-post surveys, interviews, and reflective practitioner field notes. My mixed-methods research design primarily uses narrative thematic analysis to construct two individual audience member case studies as a way to make meaning from my data collection. The thesis concludes with limitations about the study and the research tools, and recommendations for the field of museum theatre.

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