Published online by Cambridge University Press: 17 November 2008
Puppets are inanimate objects that, when watched by an audience, are invested with life and motion and character. This is particularly the case, we imagine, with children's theatre, where there is a cultural assumption that young audiences engage with the illusion and imaginative experience. In this article Matthew Reason uses innovative visual arts-based audience research to explore this question, asking how children respond to puppets in live theatre. In doing so he engages with questions of reality, illusion, belief, and disbelief in the theatre, as well as with questions about the respect and sophistication of young audiences. Matthew Reason is a Senior Lecturer in Theatre and Head of Programme for MA Studies in Creative Practice at York St John University. In 2006 he published Documentation, Disappearance, and the Representation of Live Performance (Palgrave), and a full-length exploration of children's experiences of live theatre, The Young Audience, will be published by Trentham Books in 2010.