Spaces of performance

A broad term that identifies the dynamics between actors, performance area and audience.

  • Audience and actors interact and relate in spaces of performance: the dynamic relational space between the performance and the audience;
  • the physical space of the ‘theatre’ including the auditorium and the stage in particular but also the front of house spaces.
  • the fictional, imaginary spaces created by the world of the drama.
  • the physical space of the stage with its organisation and scenography of particular stage spaces:
    • Promenade stage: a performance in which the action takes place in multiple spaces. The audience may be guided from one performance space to the next (especially if the performance has a particular structure in terms of narrative and time) or be free to explore the various spaces independently (where narrative and time are less important to the performance experience). Medieval theatre often used this structure as well as performances that make use of different qualities of the performance space (for example, garden, building, landscape, water feature).
    • Proscenium Arch stage: the proscenium arch frames the stage in traditional theatre spaces such as His Majesty’s in Perth. Also called ‘picture frame’ stage because of its ability to control sightlines and opportunity for presenting elaborate sets.
    • Theatre in the round (arena): involves a central performance space with the audience surrounding it.
    • Thrust stage: in this performance space, the audience is seated on three sides of the stage. This staging allows a more intimate connection with the audience.
    • Traverse stage: this performance space is a rectangular area with the audience seated on the two long sides of the rectangle.