Comparative Analysis Of Audience Engineering

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Comparative Analysis Of Audience Engineering


This study was carried out on a comparative analysis of audience engineering. The Theatre is a major component of the society; as no society can do without diversion and the documentation of its cultural heritage. The study employed staff of the University of Calabar Chinua Achebe Theatre The study adopted qualitative research methodology in its data gathering and analysis; it uses (questionnaire) and (Interview) to gather data. While Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory serves as the study’s theoretical framework. The study unraveled that theatre house faces some challenges that affects audience engineering and motivation. It also discovered that government intervention and private sector partnership can also help increase audience patronage. The study thus exposes the need for workshop and training for workers of state owned theatre outfit to acquaint them with the technical-know-how and various strategies of audience engineering. In conclusion, the study proposes that audience motivation depends greatly on effective and efficient house management, which as at present is a major challenge facing the Government own Arts and Culture outfit in the country.

Table Of Content

Preliminary Page(s)

  • Title page
  • Certification page
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Abstract
  • Table of content

Chapter One:

General Introduction

  • 1.1 Background to the study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 Objective of the study
  • 1.4 Significance of study
  • 1.5 Research Questions
  • 1.6 Research Methodology
  • 1.7 Scope of the study
  • 1.8 Definition of terms

Chapter Two:

Literature Review

  • 2.1 Introduction
  • 2.2 Theoretical Framework
  • 2.3 Arts/ Theatre Management: An overview
  • 2.4 Duties and responsibilities of House management workers
  • 2.5 House management and audience patronage
  • 2.6 The Audience engineering tools in the theatre

Chapter Three:

Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Introduction
  • 3.2 Area of Study
  • 3.3 Method of Data collection
  • 3.4 Validity
  • 3.5 Administration of Instruments

Chapter Four:

Research Findings

  • 4.1 Introduction
  • 4.2 Analysis of Quantitative data
  • 4.3 Analysis of Qualitative data

Chapter Five

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Recommendation
  • 5.3 Conclusion
  • References
  • Appendix

Chapter One

General Introduction

1.1 Background To The Study

It has, perhaps, not been realized that theatre audience anywhere in the world constitute a dominant force in the theatre hierarchy. A theatrical performance becomes “lifeless” without the breath of the audience members owing to their role of involvement. Brecht understood this and so sought for an alternative mode of dramaturgy that “instructs questions, provokes redefinitions that arouse new thought, and is, therefore, truly agitational” (54)

Indeed, it is of the nature of the theatre, during its performances, to jolt its audience from its anaesthesia and prepare them for action. Adedeji rates it thus:

The medium of theatre engages a person in a positive discovery and expression of itself… whatever feeling, meaning and spirit that is created in the theatre, is usually shared with the audience members who will have an opportunity to experience it (20).

Towards achieving this feat, this study considers two issues. The first is what constitute theatre audiences and what it is to build audiences; and the second, how far this could go in keeping them in shift formal sense as audiences in view of the fact that theatre requires audiences all the time vis-a-vis the administration of audiences who have come to the theatre to engage with new ideas while being entertained.

Being assumed that Nigerian educational theatres are capable of building audiences, however, keeping it becomes a different matter. On the other hand, the fall in theatre audiences perhaps because the theatre cannot keep or sustain it explains the long journey of lesser patronage of theatrical performances. In this connection, Nwamuo’s assertion that the theatre is a demonstration (imitation) of any action by anyone as a group of people at a particular place and moment in time, with or without makeup, costumes rehearsals or improvisation before an audience gathered for interest to share and celebrate… (40).

by its content, scope and methodologies realizes that the audience is the better half of the theatre enterprise, seeks to woo them to come “savour” the performance, know how to retain them for the future via making them comfortable, cater for their needs and ensure their safety while on the premises.

Hence, the idea of planning, organizing, directing and controlling the audience members and their interaction in order to attain the predetermined objectives of having a full house, guaranteeing satisfaction and maximum profit is influenced by engineering the audience members in a patterned way as orchestrated by the management of the theatre. This, Nwamuo considers as; the skillful instruction, the contriving and devising of a means of getting intended audience to see what they have to see, in an organized, comfortably safe and pleasurable environment so they can continue to patronize the organization’s programmes (10).

Audience engineering practice in the modern day educational theatre is highly competitive and advanced in nature. It comes with it, the “art” and “science” woven around different techniques to tackle its compelling, demanding and gruesome nature.

To this end, this study undertakes a comparative study of the University of Calabar Chinua Achebe Theatre and the University of Uyo Little Play House audience engineering approaches during their production seasons.

1.2 Statement Of The Problem

Without good and effective approaches in managing the audience that “invade” the theatre especially, in the Nigerian Universities, there is every tendency that the theatre will one day experience a “zero turn-out”. This is especially true when one considers the fact that patronage for live performances, no matter how elaborate the performance, have not been encouraging taking cognizance of other elements of entertainment prevalent in the society. This forestalls the assumption that the theatre though capable of building audiences; lacks the “grace” to keep and maintain it hence, the fall in theatre audience experienced by theatre organization.

It is however, the believe of this researcher that theatre audiences especially that of educational theatres, can be improved upon if effective audience engineering strategies are adopted.

1.3 Aim / Objectives of the Study

The purpose for this research is to explore the comparative analysis of audience engineering, how they could appeal to the audience and therefore could serve as a tool for audience motivation in the theatre practices.

This study will basically analyze the following as its objectives

  1. Examine effective house management principles as a tool for audience motivation
  2. To restore theatre patronage to its rightful place in the theatre practice
  3. To expose the benefits of an efficient house management system
  4. To identify a reason that contributes to poor house management as it relates to theatre patronage.
  5. To provide practicable and applicable solutions to address dilapidated house management systems.

1.4 Research questions

  1. What impact does effective house management play in motivating the audience?
  2. What initiatives can the house manager employ for better audience motivation?
  3. What are the perquisites that a house manager must possess for better audience motivation?

1.5 Significance of the Study

The outcome/result of this study shall be of immense interest to the administrators of the Art Council that are eager to see an improvement in the various departments of the art council especially in the area of audience patronage, and also members of the audience that would enjoy the various benefits of effective house management.

The study would reveal how effective house management principles could be used as a tool for re-engineering audience back to the theatre which is their first love.

1.6 Scope of the Study

This study is University of Calabar Chinua Achebe Theatre, and it aims at how to engineer audience for the theatre particularly with the University of Calabar Chinua Achebe Theatre.

1.7 Methodology

This research work would adopt quantitative methodology, by distributing questionnaires would be distributed to the staff of the University of Calabar Chinua Achebe Theatre, to ascertain the relevance of effective audience engineering in their theatre, this is because this theatre facility is case-study for this work. These questionnaires would be used to penetrate the quantitative data, which are available in the course of this study.

1.8 Definition of Terms


This may be defined as the function that coordinates the efforts of people to accomplish goals and objectives using available resources efficiently and effectively.

According to Uzoma Nwanaju, Management is an activity that involves tasks and through which the actualisation of organisation’s objectives are met (1).

Audience motivation:

This is the deliberate process of influencing members of the audience to anticipate in the theatrical production as witnesses, this is because they are one major element of the theatre experience, Audience engineering involves making members of the audience comfortable while in the theatre ( as a facility) while experiencing the theatre ( as a performance)

House Management:

House management can be defined as the proper administration of the theatre as the facility in the areas of maintenance, box office management and welfarism of both the theatre staff and the audience.

Chapter Five

Summary, Recommendation And Conclusion

5.1 Summary

The study ponders on the comparative analysis of audience engineering as a major way of motivating the audience to the theatre. The first chapter of this study contains the introductory part stating the problem of the study, significance of the study, the objective of the study, and how the researcher wants conduct the research.
In the second chapter, the researcher presented topics that are relevant to the study, among which are, duties of house workers, House management and audience patronage, Arts management, The organisational structure of Cross River state ministry for culture and tourism.

Chapter Three explained the methodologies adopted in the study. The researcher adopter both Quantitative data and (questionnaire) and Qualitative data ( Interview). The researcher distributed a total of 50 copies of the questionnaire. The findings of the copies of the questionnaire were returned, the findings of this data were analyzed in the chapter of this study. An interview was conducted with the Deputy Director of culture in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Findings from this interview too were also used for analysis in the chapter four of this study.
Chapter Four consist of the analysis of both qualitative data (Interview) and quantitative data ( questionnaire). The findings from the qualitative data were summarized in eight tables using simple percentage. While findings from the qualitative data were presented in a detailed note that affirmed assumptions made in the previous chapter of this study. The chapter also included how the methodologies have answered the research raised by the researcher in chapter one of this study.

At the end of this study, the researcher found out that majority of people that made up the audience of the art council ( Cross River state ministry of culture and Tourism) are adults30 years and above. These age brackets are mostly working class personalities, who come to the theatre for relaxation. The researcher also discovered that most of the members of audience that served as respondents do not go to the theatre to see performances often only few attend often. The researcher also discovered that the art council ( Cross River state ministry for culture and tourism) lacks some of the basic amenities that aids audience comfort ability.

Finally, the researcher believes that Cross River state ministry for Culture and Tourism lack effective house management which is also needed in motivating the audience to
consistently patronizing the theatre.

5.2 Recommendations

The researcher based on the findings of this study recommends the following;

  1. The state Government of Calabar should assist the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in Cross River state in all ramifications, most especially financially
  2. The ministry should stage plays that treat issues in the society they (art council) are located in, this would aid more audience patronage.
  3. The ministry should get more current and well developed amenities/equipment for the theatre.
  4. The ministry should employ trained house workers and not just employ anybody.
  5. There should be consistent training and workshops organised for workers of the ministry of culture and tourism so that they will be reminded of their duties and responsibilities, also how to effectively carry out their duties.
  6. The receptionists are the first personnel that the audience would meet, so the receptionists must always be ready to welcome members of audience in the best friendly manner.
  7. There should be constant cleaning of the environment, also renovations should be carried out also when needed so as to keep the theatre environment clean.
  8. The ministry should seek for funds from partners and not to rely solely on the government.

5.3 Conclusion

This study is a critical analysis that borders on the problem of audience engineering in Nigeria. It focuses on the various problems that challenges house management in Nigeria.

From the findings of this study, the researcher discovers that Governmental owned theatrical houses face a lot of challenges ranging from lack of regular workshop, irregular productions and deliberate interventions of Government.

Based on the recommendations made in this chapter, the researcher believes that theatrical houses are facing myriads of challenges and thus, the management aspect of these houses should be upgraded and standardized. The researcher concludes that after all the methodologies adopted in this study, that effective house management will surely motivate audience to the theatre.

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