Participation to the People! Locating the Popular in Rimini Protokoll’s Home Visit Europe


  • Ine Therese Berg OsloMet - Oslo Metropolitan University



Participatory theatre, Spectatorship, Audience participation, Rimini Protokoll, Home Visit Europe, Popular theatre, Participatory turn, Jacques Rancière, Theatre games.


Home Visit Europe by Rimini Protokoll is a performance without performers, only an audience taking part in a game in a private home. As such, it is one example of the partici­patory strategies that currently have a strong presence in contemporary theatre practices changing how we, as audience, engage with theatre. It is emblematic then that ‘participation’ is an emergent concept in theatre and performance studies with a rapidly growing body of work on the topic. This article sets out to explore how the idiom of the popular can shed light on some of the central issues in the discourse on participa­tion: that is to say, the relationship between the artist and the audience, author­ship, and the relationship between the aesthetic and the social dimension of partici­patory work. I will be using Home Visit Europe in the context of Bergen Interna­tional Festival of 2015 as a case study, drawing on an audience research approach com­bined with a critical reading of the work. The conceptually stringent and tightly ordered dramaturgy of Home Visit Europe, where the audience take turns responding to a set of questions and tasks, demonstrates how problematic the concept of participa­tion can be to describe theatre practices, as the term risks overstating the influence that the audience have over the aesthetic product. In this sense, contemporary participa­tory strategies resemble popular theatre’s conflict between established aesthet­ics, critical standards and popular grounding. A resemblance that brings the paper right to the core of the discourse on participation, which concerns the ideological ramifications of the ‘participatory turn’.

Author Biography

Ine Therese Berg, OsloMet - Oslo Metropolitan University

Ine Therese Berg, is currently a PhD candidate in The Department of Art, Design and Drama of OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University, and affiliated with Norwegian Univer­sity of Science and Technology where she is scheduled to deliver her thesis on audience participation in contemporary theatre and theory in Spring 2019. Since complet­ing an MA on multimedial theatre at the University of Oslo in 2005, Berg has worked as advisor to the Norwegian Dance Information Centre, responsible for the Nordic collaborations ke∂ja Oslo - Dance and New Media and ke∂ja Writing Movement, as well as a freelance critic, writer, lecturer and dramaturge.


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How to Cite

Berg, I. T. (2018). Participation to the People! Locating the Popular in Rimini Protokoll’s Home Visit Europe. Nordic Theatre Studies, 29(2), 162–183.



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