Theatre Space: accessing the Cultural Conversation
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The first decade of the 21st century has seen a renewed understanding of the potential for engagement and participation in the Arts to foster the development of creativity and imagination and to facilitate social change (e.g. Catterall, 2009; Gadsden, 2008; Hunter, 2005; Deasy, 2002). This paper reports on the major findings of the TheatreSpace project. TheatreSpace: Accessing the Cultural Conversation is a four year large scale, longitudinal Australian Research Council (ARC) linkage project* in which three universities (Melbourne, Griffith and Sydney) worked in collaboration with 13 major industry partners (Arena Theatre, Malthouse Theatre, the Arts Centre – Melbourne, Melbourne Theatre Company, Bell Shakespeare, Sydney Theatre Company, Sydney Opera House, The Brisbane Powerhouse, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Queensland Theatre Company and funding bodies Arts Victoria, Arts NSW and the Australia Council for the Arts). The central research question aimed to investigate young people’s access, participation and responses to flagship performing arts companies and cultural venues in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. It examined the relationship between engagement, arts participation and familial and group participation to current and sustained arts attendance through questionnaires, in depth case studies and follow up interviews.
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