Understanding emotional engagement across different media, Royal Shakespeare Company


Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) audiences reported that watching a live-streaming of a play at a cinema was a very different experience to seeing the same play live at a theatre. The RSC wanted to discover if the different experiences of a production (in person at the theatre and a live cinema broadcast) resulted in differences in emotional engagement when viewing the same play.

What we did:

A variety of emergent techniques were used to evaluate levels of engagement for each of the three individual experiences of Titus Andronicus, Shakespeare’s most violent play.

  • Heart-rate monitoring to measure the emotional engagement throughout the performance
  • Post-performance interview to be completed immediately after the performance (a mix of closed and open-ended questions, coupled with more tailored questions for VR and cinema)
  • Text and voice analytics to understand spontaneous reactions

Key Insight:

From the interim results, from the theatre and cinema experiences, we have noticed an interesting trend. Participant’s emotional responses are largely affected by the reactions of audience members in close proximity. Stronger emotional engagement is being produced in a group audience environment rather than individually.


This study is still currently in the field. The key findings and impact will be available mid-Autumn.#


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