This study focuses on finding how theatrical technique and process changes when the audience is reframed as bystanders. I hoped to find ways that theatre artists could fight against the bystander effect in life by bringing it into our theatres. The study was written in conjunction with a production of Nine by Jane Shepard. Nine is a piece about two women who are imprisoned. The audience does not know where they are, how long they have been there, or who has taken them—just that they are regularly raped and tortured. The play is treated as a focal point for my work around the bystander effect.

Through an analysis of the theatrical techniques used in Nine we are able to frame the audience as bystander from the point of view of the actors and director. The audience’s own view of themselves is less significant to that of the director and cast, because change in the theatre starts with us, the artists. Throughout the study Brecht’s theory of the alienated spectator and Boal’s theory of the spect-actor are both used to demonstrate ways in which the bystander effect takes hold in theatrical audiences.


Noriega, Jimmy


Theatre and Dance


Dramatic Literature, Criticism and Theory | Other Theatre and Performance Studies | Theatre and Performance Studies


Bystander, Theatre, Directing, Nine, Jane Shepard, Boal, Brecht, Cohen-Cruz

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis Exemplar



© Copyright 2018 Helen Rooker