Audience discomfort. A study on the relation between audience and actor in participatory theatre, read with Martin Buber's philosophy of encounter

Publieksongemak. Een onderzoek naar de relatie tussen publiek en acteur in het participatief theater, gelezen met de filosofie van Martin Buber over encounter
Start - End 
2016 - 2024 (ongoing)
Department of Art, music and theatre sciences
Research Focus 
Research Language 



Due to the increase of social media communication and the development of media, audience attitudes in the modern society are becoming more open than in the past. Nevertheless, a significant part of audiences still complains of discomfort in the audience participation activities in contemporary theatre. Aims to solve it, this research focuses on the relationship between the audience and the actor in contemporary participatory theatre. Especially, I will apply the philosophy of encounter of Martin Buber (1878 - 1965) to analyse the relationship between the audience and the actor in contemporary theatre. Buber’s point of view is used to explain how the performance can draw closer to the audience and what kind of attitude the audience and actor should have during the play. I will provide a philosophical foundation for the true moments of mutual contact in Buber’s ‘I and You’ relationship. Ultimately, I seek to learn about the ideal relationship that sets the audience and the actors in a mutual, equal relationship, instead of the one that only results in superficial participation from the audience. 



Phd Student(s)


Freddie Rokem

Freddie Rokem is Professor (Emeritus) in the Department of Theatre at Tel Aviv University

Haekyoung Lee

Theatre Department - Kookmin University