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Investigating the Audience Week 7 Before we even begin to evaluate who attended the theatre at any one given moment in history we must first recognise the fact that the individual attends a performance with certain expectations values and prejudices that have already been determined Also we must acknowledge the fact that a diverse collection of people constitutes an audience so in fact we are analysing the history of audiences Gurr APlaygoing in Shakespeares London Theatre historians regard Andrew Gurrs book Playgoing in Shakespeares London as an authority of the Shakespearean period an indispensable quarry for information on theatres ad audiences John F Andrews also endorses Gurr as one of the worlds leading historians recognising him as one of our most lucid and reliable interpreters of what it was like to attend a play in the age of Shakespeare Gurrs article addresses the value and significance of the audience in performances of the period He examines the effect of historical change on the change in the physical nature of the auditorium audience tastes and the social composition of the playgoers He attempts to patch together evidence from the physical conditions of performances demographics and contemporary commentary and loosely seeks to sketch a picture of the mental composition of the audience through anecdotal evidence The latter two types of evidence are so fragmentary and highly unsubstantiated that it seems that we cant take much of what Gurr says as absolute Gurr acknowledges that much is known about how the plays were staged but that very little is known about the interaction between players and playgoers to create performances of the 1600s Even though Gurr tries to categorise the typical London playgoer as either a London artisan who attended the Globe or an elite or privileged member of society who attended the Blackfriars it is difficult to gain insight as to why those audiences attended Such generalisations dont acknowledge differences within the
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