My name is Alfredo Martins and I’m a Portuguese theatre maker. My professional activity has been swinging between acting, directing, producing and researching and in all these 'métiers' I always felt the tension between the labour of producing an artistic object and its relation with the world – how does art address the world? how does it participate in all its social complexity? how is it perceived? does it matter? to whom?
Even if as an artist I tried to explore dramaturgic strategies able to problematize spectators’ place and status, I always felt the need for moments of encounter and deeper reflexion on the relations between artistic production, mediation and reception.
In 2011 I led off a project on audience engagement called “O Público vai ao Teatro” (in a less charming translation to English, “The Audience goes to the Theatre”), which has been developed in collaboration with several public performance art venues.
For each edition, we invite one or more groups of citizens (different selection criteria used, but main focus on positive non-attenders) to follow a two years’ program developed inside the venues. This program is build around three main action lines: 1) collect information on participants’ relation with performance art and venues, trying to identity motivations, expectations, habits, social arrangements and barriers; 2) make the participants become acquainted with the venues (meeting artistic and production teams, going to rehearsals, watching and discussing shows,…); 3) involve participants in the discussion and definition of the venues program, testing cultural governance models.
This project also has a strong component of research and systematization through the organization of regular multidisciplinary encounters on reception politics and audience engagement, together with the coordination of publications and documentaries on same topics.
At the moment, I’m also writing my master thesis on Visual Anthropology having this project as case study.