130 | 30, pp. 127-143 | doxa.comunicación

January-June of 2020

A typology of theatre audiences based on the impact of various sources of influence and the use...

ISSN: 1696-019X / e-ISSN: 2386-3978

(2003) indicate the need to consider not only present consumers or those attending a cultural activity, but also past and potential consumers. In any case, it is clear that theatre audiences are not a homogeneous group.

Studies on theatre audience segmentation have mainly been based on examining sociodemographic features, lifestyles, cultural values, and the benefits sought, as well as the obstacles that inhibit theatre attendance. With regard to the sociodemographic variables, Sellas and Colomer (2009) propose classifying the spectators according to their educational level, lifestyle, and frequency of theatre attendance.

Frequency of attendance has been the classification criterion in many studies. Ateca-Amestoy (2008) distinguishes non-theatregoers, differentiating between those who never go to the theatre and those who, despite not attending, might be interested in attending but encounter restrictions such as income level, marital status, or educational level. In addition, López Sintas and García Álvarez (2002) segment the audience into four different types based on consumption and the frequency of attending theatre arts performances: sporadic, those who show a pattern of low consumption because they only attend very occasionally, regardless of whether the productions are more popular or more elitist; popular, those who have a high probability of attending popular shows but avoid cultural performing and musical arts; snobs, those who show a certain probability of attending, but with patterns contrary to popular consumers because they only attend highly cultural events such as classical music, opera, zarzuela, and dance; and omnivores, those who, as some researchers have proposed, have an insatiable appetite for different cultural genres (Ariño, 2010). In turn, Colomer (2013) classifies performing arts audiences according to their consumption stage, distinguishing between audiences with a non-existent demand, audiences with a latent demand, first-time audiences, occasional audiences, regular audiences, and friends or partners.

Other research focuses on the intangible aspect of cultural products and provides a list of reasons for attending the arts, grouping them according to the different needs of the audience. Thus, consumers may attend to satisfy basic needs –to fight boredom, to seek new experiences–, social needs –entertainment, social relations–, personal needs –education, enrichment–, emotional needs –relaxation, escape– and ideals –aesthetics, transcendence–. In this direction, Wright (1962) divided the public into three groups: the escapists, who go to the theatre to forget their responsibilities and daily problems; the moralists, who demand that the theatre teach them a lesson; and the supporters of art for art’s sake, a group made up of fans who have a disdain for box office hits and reject popular theatre. Moreover, Bergadàa and Nyeck (1995) defined four groups of spectators based on the same variable: those who seek entertainment and find a form of rest, a way to forget everyday life, and pleasure in the theatre; those who seek social differentiation and view the theatre as an artistic experience only accessible to a social elite with certain knowledge; those who seek personal development and expect the theatre to bring them enrichment and intellectual stimulation; and those who seek social hedonism and see the theatre as a form of cultural expression that allows them to communicate with creators, authors, and actors.

On another level, Watson (1971) constructed a typology of spectators based on their level of involvement and commitment, defining six spectator profiles stemming from the intersection between value and the attitude towards the arts. In relation to the appreciation for the arts, Mayaux (1987) segmented audiences into: the intellectuals –who view culture as a social reality and have high cultural capital and a medium economic level–; the bourgeois –who view