Searching for a Space for Conversation: A study on how environment affects the articulation of the art experience among opera audiences at The Royal Danish Theatre


  • Anna Lawaetz The National Museum in Copenhagen
  • Nina Gram The Royal Danish Theatre
  • Christina Østerby The Royal Danish Theatre



Audience experience, qualitative methods, conversational space, environmental psychology, group conversations, art experience


“Tell me about your experience in the theatre today”. Even though theatres (with this question) may seek honest, personal, and in depth answers from the audience, this question often results in superficial responds focused on what the audience suspect the theatre wants to hear. It can thus be difficult to get personal and detailed knowledge about the audiences’ experience. In a time, where theatres with different means (co-creation, participation etc.) try to keep audience loyal and engaged, this knowledge is important. In our project, we explore how different situations, locations, questions etc. affect conversations about art experiences and in this article we describe our “search for a space for conversation”. We explore how the space affects the conversation, and how the setting can emphasize certain elements. What happens to the conversation if we sit around an ordinary meeting table, if we walk and talk outside the art institution or if we talk inside the auditorium, where we had the original art experience? This explorative study is part of the project “A Suitcase of Methods”, which is housed by The Royal Danish Theatre and financially supported by The Bikuben Foundation.

Author Biographies

Anna Lawaetz, The National Museum in Copenhagen

Anna Lawaetz is a dramaturge, researcher and performance artist. She is currently working as a fulltime dramaturge at the National Museum in Copenhagen. In 2015-16 she was project manager for the research project A Suitcase of Methods at The Royal Danish Theatre. She holds a PhD from University of Copenhagen, Department of Arts and Cultural Studies; thesis: Danmarks Radios Stemmer (2014). She has recently edited the anthology and festschrift Stage/Page/Play – Interdisciplinary Approaches to Theatre and Theatricality (2016) in collaboration with Ulla Kallenbach. From 2007-2014 she was artistic director of the performance group Sisters Hope/Sisters Academy in collaboration with Gry Worre Hallberg.

Nina Gram, The Royal Danish Theatre

Nina Gram is project manager for the project A Suitcase of Methods at The Royal Danish Theatre, which explores different qualitative methods in order to gain knowledge about audiences’ experienced relevance with performance art. Nina holds a PhD from the University of Aarhus, Department of Aesthetics and Communications. In her thesis, Når musikken virker [When Music Works] (2013), she examines how mobile listening through head phones in public spaces may affect our perception of our surroundings. Here she also worked experimentally with different methods to examine listeners’ experiences.

Christina Østerby, The Royal Danish Theatre

Christina Østerby is Director of Programming, Sales and Strategic Analytics and works with a broad and comprehensive knowledge of all matters related to the business of The Royal Danish Theatre with an eye towards identifying new sales prospects, driving business growth and requirements for business development. She is responsible for maximizing the customer experience by defining, developing, and deploying innovative, multi-channel initiatives. Christina has more than 20 years’ experience in the Performing Art industry. She joined The Royal Danish Theatre in 2000 as a Box-office manager. Since 2007, Christina has been in charge of Strategic Analytics, where she works to understand the market trend, grows attendance and raises revenues. She focuses on the infrastructure required for generating and analyzing both qualitative and quantitative knowledge allowing the Theatre to make business decisions based on valid information.


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How to Cite

Lawaetz, A., Gram, N., & Østerby, C. (2017). Searching for a Space for Conversation: A study on how environment affects the articulation of the art experience among opera audiences at The Royal Danish Theatre. Nordic Theatre Studies, 28(2), 146–163.



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