Museum theatre: historical and contemporary approaches 2017

Ph.D Candidate: 
Fotini Venieri
Supervising Committee: 
Niki Nikonanou, Alexandra Bounia, Andromache Gazi

The thesis focused on exploring museum theater. In particular it explored the variety of approaches it has adopted since its birth as well as its multiple functions and perspectives in contemporary museum environments. Primary and secondary research was implemented. Specifically, extensive literature research was conducted in the fields of museology, theater studies and museum education as well as in theoretical approaches concerning the interpretation of cultural heritage, complemented by field research involving observation and analysis of museum theater applications and collection of data from museum professionals. Primary research included case studies that icluded the systematic and thorough examination regarding the production and reception of museum-theater. The research results proved that museum theatre can contribute to a dialogue between different cultures, when designed in order to engage the audience, taking into account the factors that influence its behaviour and perception of thetre techniques.Theater' 'flexibility', the wealth of its expressive tools and its potential to 'exhibit' complex issues in a simple way can serve different learning needs and involve different social and age groups. Thereby it can facilitate visitors' access to the museums'narrative and create a dialogical space in the museum. In addition, the museum theater can be just as effective in supporting the learning process that takes place in the museum environment. Nevertheless, it is important to note that the understanding of museum narratives, critical engagement and other parameters examined in this thesis, are not universal and inevitable results of a museum theater program. By contrast, they require a focused approach and a considerable amount of work from the part of the museum, the designer and the actors.In summary, the thesis confirmed previous research results, brought to light new findings concerning the nature of museum theater, the decisive role of the audience experience, the design and implementation requirements, and laid the foundation for further exploration of the field. According to the thesi's findings museum theater can be a field that will broaden, diversify and will definitely affect the relationship of the museum with the visitors and thus with the community. The possibilities that have emerged are diverse and can contribute significantly to the enrichment of the visitors' experience through the development of alternative museum narratives.