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The Author and the Audience

A one-day symposium at the University of Leeds, 6th November 2010

“I saw a play last year. And I remember thinking, ‘that writer has imagined me’. I’ve been imagined! Poorly imagined! The audience has been badly written! We’re all going to have to pretend ourselves!” Do you know that feeling?” –    from The Author, by Tim Crouch

Author/Audience imageOn 5th and 6th November, Leeds’s Workshop Theatre hosts performances of Tim Crouch’s widely-acclaimed new play The Author. This follows its premiere at the Royal Court Theatre in September 2009, and its sell-out run at the Traverse Theatre during this year’s Edinburgh Festival, where – according to The Guardian – it was “Edinburgh’s most talked-about play.” There is no stage in The Author, just two banks of audience seating facing each other, with four actors seated amongst them. (For further info see

Organised in conjunction with these performances, this one-day symposium event brings together theatre artists and critics for a day of open debate featuring papers, readings of new work, and roundtable discussions. The Author will provide a jumping-off point for a broader discussion of the relationship between writer and spectator in contemporary theatre practice.

  • How can pre-written language function to trigger a “live” encounter in the imaginations of the audience?
  • How is the spectator being involved – and even implicated – in the events enacted?
  • Why intimacy?  Why direct address?
  • What ethical and aesthetic issues arise when the audience is made explicitly “responsible” for what it is watching?

Speakers/presenters include:

Tim Crouch, playwright and actor

Helen Freshwater (Birkbeck College), author of Theatre & Audience

Chris Goode, playwright and performer, currently appearing in The Author

Claire MacDonald, playwright, critic, editor, curator

a smith, writer, performance-maker, and co-director of The Author

Chris Thorpe, playwright and performer, co-founder of Unlimited Theatre

Liz Tomlin (Birmingham University) writer-director, performer, critic

And for Leeds University’s Workshop Theatre, Helen Iball and Stephen Bottoms.

To register for this event:

The registration fee for the day is £45 (waged) and £25 (student/unwaged). This includes lunch on the day, and a ticket for one of The Author’s Leeds performances.

To register for this event, please download and complete this form and send it to Burkhard Hauder at the School of English, University of Leeds:

Please print the words “Author Symposium” in the subject field of your email.

Other enquiries should be directed to Stephen Bottoms at