Integrity Research Journals

ISSN: 2811-2407
Model: Open Access/Peer Reviewed
DOI: 10.31248/IJAH
Start Year: 2020

Exploring social media as an apparatus for audience engineering in the Nigerian theatre milieu   |   Article Number: 596130FC5   |   Vol.5 (2) - June 2024

Received Date: 29 May 2024   |   Accepted Date: 28 June 2024  |   Published Date: 30 June 2024

Authors:  Mbede, Aniebiet Unwana* , Jacob, Okon Udofot , Andrew-Essien, Esekong H. and Enang, Edenowo T.

Keywords: social media, Audience engineering, new media, theatre productions.

This study investigates the use of social media as an apparatus for audience engineering in the Nigerian theatre milieu. This interrogation becomes vital as live theatre in Nigeria continues to struggle to maintain clientele due to decreasing audience response. Using the mixed-method approach, this paper explores engaging social media channels (Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp and Tiktok) in select experimental productions - Ifure Ufford-Azorbo’s Beyond my Scars, staged in the Model Theatre Studio (MTS) at the University of Uyo, Daniel Kpodoh’s interpretation of Ola Rotimi’s The Gods are not to Blame presented at The Arena in Port Harcourt and VickyBon Uzuazor’s Diary of a Pastor’s Wife staged in Akwa Ibom State University Pinnacle Theatre. This study is underpinned by the Technology Acceptance Model, Diffusion of Innovation and Social Media Engagement Theory in its framework. In its findings, the use of social media increases the reach of the production information to prospective audiences and also enhances the reach of theatrical presentations through live feeds; therefore, social media has proven capable of attracting new audiences for wider reception of the theatre product. This suggests that social media has become a useful apparatus for audience engineering in Nigerian theatre, enabling practitioners to leverage online platforms to shape audience engagement, build community, extend conversations and promote artistic works to reach wider audiences. The study contributes to our understanding that; social media technology is a supportive performance apparatus of connectedness and is potent in influencing and transforming the theatrical landscape in Nigeria and beyond through audience engineering. This paper therefore recommends the creative and consistent use of social media platforms as standard production protocol for the reinvigoration of the theatre milieu, especially in Nigeria.

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