Live Theatre Production: use of performance space

Live Theatre Production: use of performance space

Understanding Performance Spaces

  • Performance space sets the stage for live theatre; it’s crucial to understand how it can shape and influence a theatre production.

  • Using performance spaces creatively can enhance key points within the storyline. For example, limiting the performance to a tiny space can symbolise imprisonment or isolation.

  • Use of levels can change dynamics of a scene instantly. Different levels can create a hierarchy between characters or signify varied locations within a scene.

  • Use of entry and exit points on a stage is significant; they guide the audience’s attention and can help denote shifts in time or location.

  • Finally, consider the presence of the audience in the space - are they a passive observer or actively integrated within the performance. This can greatly affect a production’s overall atmosphere and storytelling.

Different Types of Stages

  • Proscenium Arch is a common type of stage where the audience faces the stage directly, creating a ‘picture frame’ effect. The backstage area is often concealed.

  • End-On stages are similar to a Proscenium Arch but the arch is removed, making the stage feels more open.

  • Another popular structure is “the round” where the audience is placed on every side of the performance space. This requires a versatile acting approach as there are no ‘back’ or ‘focused’ audience.

  • Thrust stages use a style where the audience surrounds three sides of the performance space. This impacts the direction and blocking considerably as actors must address multiple directions.

  • Traverse stages, also known as catwalk stages, split the audience into two separate halves with the performance occurring in the middle - a challenge for directors and actors alike.

Site-Specific Performances

  • Site-Specific performances take place outside of traditional theatre spaces, like in a park or a field. Such locations can impact the relationship between audiences and actors, and can make the storyline more realistic.

By understanding these key points, you’ll gain an overview of how performance spaces contribute vitally to the effectiveness and impact of live theatre productions.