Theses Master's

Experiential Dramaturgy: Putting a Sense of “Play” into Plays

Agress, Andrew

During the COVID-19 pandemic, traditional live theater went on hiatus for a while. However, many people flocked to other experiential mediums. Now that in-person theater has returned, how can it acknowledge the opportunities that a live audience provides? This thesis explores immersive works, role-playing games, escape rooms, haunted houses, interactive museums, and other experiences that fully engage their participants. It discusses what theater can learn from these mediums to encourage work that activates audiences in a communal, safe, and enjoyable way. 

The thesis consists of interviews with creators, writers, and artists from theatrical and experiential backgrounds, summaries of books and resources on these subjects, and analyses of experiential shows. Designed as a prospectus for a course on experiential dramaturgy, the paper culminates in an overview of workshops synthesizing the material along with a proposed course syllabus. 


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More About This Work

Academic Units
M.F.A., Columbia University
Published Here
March 29, 2023