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An audience is a group of people who participate in a show or encounter a
work of art A work of art, artwork, art piece, piece of art or art object is an artistic creation of aesthetic Aesthetics, or esthetics, is a branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the systematized study of general and ...
,
literature Literature is any collection of Writing, written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, drama, and poetry. In recent centuries, the definition has expanded to ...
(in which they are called "readers"),
theatre Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art that uses live performers, usually actor, actors or actresses, to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place, often a stage. The p ...
,
music Music is generally defined as the The arts, art of arranging sound to create some combination of Musical form, form, harmony, melody, rhythm or otherwise Musical expression, expressive content. Exact definition of music, definitions of mu ...
(in which they are called "listeners"),
video games Video games, also known as computer games, are electronic games that involves interaction with a user interface or input device such as a joystick, game controller, controller, computer keyboard, keyboard, or motion sensing device to gener ...
(in which they are called "players"), or academics in any medium. Audience members participate in different ways in different kinds of art. Some events invite overt audience participation and others allow only modest clapping and criticism and reception. Media audience studies have become a recognized part of the curriculum. Audience theory offers scholarly insight into audiences in general. These insights shape our knowledge of just how audiences affect and are affected by different forms of art. The biggest art form is the
mass media Mass media refers to a diverse array of media (communication), media technology, technologies that reach a large audience via mass communication. The technologies through which this communication takes place include a variety of outlets. Bro ...
. Films, video games, radio shows,
software Software is a set of computer programs and associated software documentation, documentation and data (computing), data. This is in contrast to Computer hardware, hardware, from which the system is built and which actually performs the work. ...
(and hardware), and other formats are affected by the audience and its reviews and recommendations. In the age of easy
internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a '' network of networks'' that consists of private, p ...
participation and
citizen journalism Citizen journalism, also known as collaborative media, participatory journalism, democratic journalism, guerrilla journalism or street journalism, is based upon public citizens "playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, a ...
, professional creators share space, and sometimes attention with the public. American journalist Jeff Jarvis said, "Give the people control of media, they will use it. The corollary: Don't give the people control of media, and you will lose. Whenever citizens can exercise control, they will." Tom Curley, President of the Associated Press, similarly said, "The users are deciding what the point of their engagement will be — what application, what device, what time, what place."


Types


Particular (real)

In
rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or dialectic), is one of the Trivium, three ancient arts of discourse. Rhetoric aims to study the techniques writers or speakers utilize to inform, persuad ...
, some audiences depend on circumstance and situation and are characterized by the individuals that make up the audience. Sometimes these audiences are subject to persuasion and engage with the ideas of the speaker. Ranging in size and composition, this audience may come together and form a "composite" of multiple groups.


Immediate

An immediate audience is a type of audience that is composed of individuals who are face-to-face subjects with a speaker and a speaker's rhetorical text or speech. This audience directly listens to, engages with, and consumes the rhetorical text in an unmediated fashion. In measuring immediate audience reception and feedback, (audience measurement), one can depend on personal interviews, applause, and verbal comments made during and after a rhetorical speech.


Mediated

In contrast to immediate audiences, mediated audiences are composed of individuals who consume rhetorical texts in a manner that is different from the time or place in which a speaker presents text. Audiences who consume texts or speeches through television, radio and internet are considered mediated audiences because those mediums separate the rhetor and the audience. Such audiences are physically away from the audience and the message is controlled. Understanding the size and composition of mediated audiences can be difficult because mediums such as television, radio, and Internet can displace the audience from the time and circumstance of a rhetorical text or speech. In measuring mediated audience reception and feedback (a practice called
audience measurement Audience measurement measures how many people are in an audience, usually in relation to radio listenership and television viewership, but also in relation to newspaper and magazine readership and, increasingly, web traffic on websites. Sometim ...
), one can depend on opinion polls and ratings, as well as comments and forums that may be featured on a website. This applies to may fields such as movies, songs and much more. There are companies that specialize in audience measurement.


Theoretical (imagined)

Theoretical audiences are imagined for the purpose of helping a speaker compose, practice, or a critic to understand, a rhetorical text or speech.


Self (self-deliberation)

When a rhetor deeply considers, questions, and deliberates over the content of the ideas they are conveying, it can be said that these individuals are addressing the audience of self, or self-deliberating. Scholars Chaïm Perelman and Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca , in their book
The New Rhetoric: A Treatise on Argumentation
', argue that the rhetor "is in a better position than anyone else to test the value of his own arguments." The audience of self, while not serving as the ends to all rhetorical purpose or circumstance, nevertheless acts as a type of audience that not only operates as a function of self-help, but as instrument used to discover the available means of persuasion.


Universal

The universal audience is an imagined audience that serves as an ethical and argumentative test for the rhetor. This also requires the speaker to imagine a composite audience that contains individuals from diverse backgrounds and to discern whether or not the content of the rhetorical text or speech would appeal to individuals within that audience. Scholars Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca ascertain that the content addressed to a universal audience "must convince the reader that the reasons adduced are of a compelling character, that they are self-evident, and possess an absolute and timeless validity". The concept of the universal audience has received criticism for being idealistic because it can be considered as an impediment in achieving persuasive effect with particular audiences. Yet, it still may be useful as an ethical guide for a speaker and a critical tool for a reader or audience.


Ideal

An ideal audience is a rhetor's imagined, intended audience. In creating a rhetorical text, a rhetor imagines is the
target audience A target audience is the intended audience or readership of a publication, advertisement, or other message catered specifically to said intended audience. In marketing and advertising, it is a particular group of consumer within the predetermined ...
, a group of individuals that will be addressed, persuaded, or affected by the speech or rhetorical text. This type of audience is not necessarily imagined as the most receptive audience, but as the future particular audience that the rhetor will engage with. Imagining such an audience allows a rhetor to formulate appeals that will grant success in engaging with the future particular audience. In considering an ideal audience, a rhetor can imagine future conditions of mediation, size, demographics, and shared beliefs among the audience to be persuaded.


Implied

An implied audience is an imaginary audience determined by an auditor or reader as the text's constructed audience. The implied audience is not the actual audience, but the one that can be inferred by reading or analyzing the text. Communications scholar Edwin Black, in his essay, The Second Persona, presents the theoretical concept of the implied audience using the idea of two personae. The first persona is the implied rhetoric (the idea of the speaker formed by the audience) and the second persona is the implied audience (the idea of the audience formed by and utilized for persuasion in the speech situation). A critic could also determine what the text wants that audience to become or do after the rhetorical situation.


On the web

Through the Internet, every person is given the opportunity to participate in different ways. The Internet gives people a platform to write and reach the people who are interested in what they are writing about. When writers write online, they are able to form communities with the people they share common interests with. The audiences that people are trying to reach can be general or specific, all depending on what the writer is discussing in their online posts. Audiences have to go and check into what the writers are writing to stay on top of the latest information. Writers have to find their niche and try hard to work their way into an already formed community. The audience the writer is reaching is able to respond to the writers posts and can give feedback. The Internet allows these connections to be formed and fostered. In the ''Here Comes Everybody'' book by Clay Shirky, there are various examples of how audience is not only receiving content but actually creating it. The Internet creates a chance of being part of an audience and a creator at the same time.


Audience participation

Audience participation is commonly found in performances which break the
fourth wall The fourth wall is a performance dramatic convention, convention in which an invisible, imaginary wall separates actors from the audience. While the audience can see through this ''wall'', the convention assumes the actors act as if they canno ...
. Examples include the traditional British
pantomime Pantomime (; informally panto) is a type of musical theatre, musical comedy stage production designed for family entertainment. It was developed in England and is performed throughout the United Kingdom, Ireland and (to a lesser extent) in other ...
s,
stand-up comedy Stand-up comedy is a comedic performance to a live audience in which the performer addresses the audience directly from the stage. The performer is known as a comedian, a comic or a stand-up. Stand-up comedy consists of one-liners, storie ...
, and creative stage shows such as Blue Man Group. Audience participation can be uncomfortable for certain people, but is growing and evolving as a new tool of brand activation and brand engagement. In a bid to create and reinforce a special bond between brands and their consumers, companies are increasingly looking towards events that involve active audience participation. Often, organizations provide branded objects to event attendees that will involve the audience in the show as well as act as souvenirs of the event, creating a lasting link with the brand. For example, during
Super Bowl XLVIII Super Bowl XLVIII was an American football game between the American Football Conference (AFC) champion 2013 Denver Broncos season, Denver Broncos and National Football Conference (NFC) champion 2013 Seattle Seahawks season, Seattle Seahawks to ...
, the audience was incorporated in the Super Bowl XLVIII Halftime Show as part of the lighting effects.
Pepsi Pepsi is a carbonated soft drink manufactured by PepsiCo. Originally created and developed in 1893 by Caleb Bradham and introduced as Brad's Drink, it was renamed as Pepsi-Cola in 1898, and then shortened to Pepsi in 1961. History Pepsi was f ...
involved the spectators by giving them "video ski hats" that produced visual effects across the crowd. By appealing more directly to people and emotions, brands can obtain feedback from their consumers. Companies that provide or seek such experiences refer to the term "crowd activation". For example, Tangible Interaction named one of its branches Crowd Activation and PixMob refers to itself as a crowd activation company on its website. One of the most well-known examples of popular audience participation accompanies the motion picture and music ''
The Rocky Horror Picture Show ''The Rocky Horror Picture Show'' is a 1975 Musical film, musical comedy horror film by 20th Century Fox, produced by Lou Adler and Michael White (producer), Michael White and directed by Jim Sharman. The screenplay was written by Sharman an ...
'' and its earlier stage incarnation ''The Rocky Horror Show''. The audience participation elements are often seen as the most important part of the picture, to the extent that the audio options on the DVD version include the option.


Examples

In the audience participation for the ''
Rocky Horror Picture Show ''The Rocky Horror Picture Show'' is a 1975 Musical film, musical comedy horror film by 20th Century Fox, produced by Lou Adler and Michael White (producer), Michael White and directed by Jim Sharman. The screenplay was written by Sharman an ...
'' (1975), the audience will make "call backs", and yell at the screen at certain parts of the movie. Also, a number of props are thrown and used by the audience during certain parts of the film. '' The Blues Brothers'' (1980) has become a staple of late-night cinema, even slowly morphing into an audience-participation show in its regular screenings at the Valhalla Cinema, in
Melbourne Melbourne ( ; Boonwurrung language, Boonwurrung/Woiwurrung–Taungurung language, Woiwurrung: ''Narrm'' or ''Naarm'') is the List of Australian capital cities, capital and List of cities in Australia by population, most populous city of the St ...
, Australia. John Landis acknowledged the support of the cinema and the fans by a phone call he made to the cinema at the 10th-anniversary screening, and later invited regular attendees to make cameo appearances in '' Blues Brothers 2000'' (1998). The fans act as the members of the crowd during the performance of " Ghost Riders in the Sky". In British pantomime performances, the audience is a crucial aspect of the show and is expected to perform certain tasks such as: * Interacting with an "audience friend", a character often designed to be comedic and sympathetic, such as
Buttons A button is a fastener that joins two pieces of fabric together by slipping through a loop or by sliding through a buttonhole. In modern clothing Clothing (also known as clothes, apparel, and attire) are items worn on the human bod ...
from "
Cinderella "Cinderella",; french: link=no, Cendrillon; german: link=no, Aschenputtel) or "The Little Glass Slipper", is a Folklore, folk tale with thousands of variants throughout the world.Dundes, Alan. Cinderella, a Casebook. Madison, Wis: University of ...
". Typical interactions include call and response (e.g. Buttons: "Hiya gang!" Audience: "Hiya Buttons!") * Back and forth arguments, usually composed of simple, repetitive phrases (e.g. Character: "No there isn't!" Audience: "Yes there is!") * "Ghost gags", where the audience yells loudly to inform the character of imminent danger, usually whilst the character is completely aloof. '' The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)'' divides the audience into groups assigned to call out the concerns of three components of a character's psyche. In ''
The Mystery of Edwin Drood ''The Mystery of Edwin Drood'' is the final novel by Charles Dickens, originally published in 1870. Though the novel is named after the character Edwin Drood, it focuses more on Drood's uncle, John Jasper, a precentor, choirmaster and opium ...
'', a
Broadway theatre Broadway theatre,Although ''theater'' is generally the spelling for this common noun in the United States (see American and British English spelling differences#-re, -er, American and British English spelling differences), 130 of the List of ...
musical Musical is the adjective of music Music is generally defined as the The arts, art of arranging sound to create some combination of Musical form, form, harmony, melody, rhythm or otherwise Musical expression, expressive content. Exact def ...
based on
Charles Dickens Charles John Huffam Dickens (; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian er ...
's last, unfinished work, the audience must vote for whom they think the murderer is, as well as the real identity of the detective and the couple who end up together. The
1984 Summer Olympics The 1984 Summer Olympics (officially the Games of the XXIII Olympiad and also known as Los Angeles 1984) were an international multi-sport event held from July 28 to August 12, 1984, in Los Angeles, California, United States. It marked the secon ...
included card stunts at the Olympic Stadium. '' Tony and Tina's Wedding'' engages the entire audience at once, staging a narrative set during a wedding in which the audience performs the role of "guests". The British panel game '' QI'' often allows the audience to try to answer questions. Currently, the audience have won one show, and have come last in another. Magic shows often rely on some audience participation. Psychological illusionist
Derren Brown Derren Brown (born 27 February 1971) is an English mentalist, illusionist, painter, and author. He began performing in 1992, making his television debut with ''Derren Brown: Mind Control'' in 2000, and has since produced several more shows fo ...
relies heavily on audience participation in his live shows. During performances of the " Radetzky March", it is traditional for the audience to clap along with the beat of the second (louder) repetitions of the chorus. This is particularly notable at the Neujahrskonzert.
Blog A blog (a Clipping (morphology), truncation of "weblog") is a discussion or informational website published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete, often informal diary-style text entries (posts). Posts are typically displayed in Reverse ...
gers, YouTubers, and live streamers often allow their viewers moderated or unmoderated comments sections. Some musical groups often heavily incorporate audience participation into their live shows. The
superhero A superhero or superheroine is a stock character that typically possesses Superpower (ability), ''superpowers'', abilities beyond those of ordinary people, and fits the role of the hero, typically using his or her powers to help the World peac ...
-themed comedy rock band
The Aquabats The Aquabats are an American rock music, rock band formed in Huntington Beach, California, in 1994. Throughout many fluctuations in the group's line-up, singer Christian Jacobs, the MC Bat Commander and bassist Chad Larson, Crash McLarson have ...
typically do so within their theatrical stage shows through such antics as "pool floatie races", where members of the band race across the venue on inflatable rafts via
crowd surfing Crowd surfing is the process in which a person is passed overhead from person to person (often during a concert), transferring the person from one part of the venue to another. The "crowd surfer" is passed above everyone's heads, with everyone's ...
, or providing the audience with projectiles (such as plastic balls or beach balls) to throw at costumed "bad guys" who come out on stage. Koo Koo Kanga Roo, a comedy dance-pop duo, write their music solely for audience participation, utilizing call and response style
sing-along Sing-along, also called community singing or group singing, is an event of singing together at gatherings or parties, less formally than choir singing. One can use a songbook. Common genres are folk songs, patriotic songs, kids' songs, spirituals ...
songs which are usually accompanied by a simple dance move that the band encourage the audience to follow along with.


Faux participation

The television series ''
Mystery Science Theater 3000 ''Mystery Science Theater 3000'' (abbreviated as ''MST3K'') is an American science fiction comedy film review television series created by Joel Hodgson. The show premiered on WUCW, KTMA-TV (now WUCW) in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on November 24, 1 ...
'' featured a man and his robots who were held as imprisoned audience members and tortured by being forced to view "bad" movies; to retain their sanity, they talked throughout and heckled each one. In a similar vein, the online site Television Without Pity has a stable of reviewers and recappers who speak the lingo of audience members rather than of scholars, and who sometimes act as though they, too, are being tortured.


References


Further reading

*Steinmetz, John. ''How to Enjoy a Live Concert''. 'S.l''. Naxos, 99-? 51 p., with ill. {{Authority control Media studies Theatre Observation