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Watching Flares - Some thoughts on challenging theatre experiences and audience reception.

Mackenzie, NK (2017) Watching Flares - Some thoughts on challenging theatre experiences and audience reception. In: You, The Audience Symposium, 20 February 2017 - 20 February 2017, Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

One evening in 2002, 129 people went to the Dubrovka theatre in Moscow. They were amongst an audience of 850, all there to see a musical, called Nord Ost. Shortly after the interval about 40 Chechen rebels appeared on stage and in the auditorium. They let many of the audience go, but many were kept hostage. After two and a half days the Russian military pumped in a sedative gas and stormed the building. The 129 people died, as a direct result of the gas. 5 years later Neil Mackenzie and Mole Wetherell made a piece for theatres called After Dubrovka, as an opportunity to reflect on the significance of the event, and to acknowledge those who died. It was a piece for audiences and no performers. A piece about sitting in an auditorium and standing on a stage, about what it means to be there and how long you should stay. 10 years later on Neil Mackenzie, now director of the Flare International Festival of New Theatre, reflects again on audiences and audience experiences, on the task of the theatre artist and what it means to sit in an auditorium.

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