The Mormon guide to Twitter: musicals, marketing and fan culture madness

Rush, Adam (2014) The Mormon guide to Twitter: musicals, marketing and fan culture madness. In: EMUA Student Conference 2014, 18th September 2014, University of Leicester.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Presentation)
Item Status:Live Archive


The influx of musical theatre merchandise in the 1980s, through the productions of Cameron Mackintosh, saw audiences take home an eclectic range of souvenir items to extend the theatrical experience into their everyday routines. As audiences left the theatres playing Cats, Les Miserables and Miss Saigon, they brought with them souvenir brochures, magnets, mugs and t-shirts, for instance, and became "walking advertisements", as Dan Rebellato has argued. Some thirty-two years later, the years which separate the London openings of Cats (1981) and The Book of Mormon (2013), audiences not only take home their branded jumper, but give something back in cyberspace. Audiences no longer inform their friends about the new hit show, but tweet, poke and post their fandom on public platforms designed to further audience engagement. The global phenomenon of social media, as epitomised by Facebook and Twitter, has seen the ephemeral theatrical event engage with the digitised, and thus unyielding, world of the Internet - they are no longer opposing foes. As such, this presentation investigates the marketing campaign of The Book of Mormon, in which audience's tweets promote the production, to argue that the digitised can extend an audience's relationship with the live. Drawing upon notions of authenticity, sociability and spectatorship, this presentation highlights that musical theatre (the local) can expand an audience's presumed agency, provide an alternative form of criticism and position musical theatre in the cultural mainstream, by way of social media (the global). By having their tweet's plastered on billboards, audiences are progressing from passive spectator, who see a play and leave again, to active fan.

Keywords:Musical Theatre, Intertextuality, Social Media, The Book of Mormon
Subjects:W Creative Arts and Design > W400 Drama
W Creative Arts and Design > W300 Music
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts (Performing Arts)
ID Code:19994
Deposited On:12 Jan 2016 10:56

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