Bringing the Audience out of the Shadows!

Shadowland is currently touring Australia and New Zealand showing off their amazing control over musical shadow puppets. But that is not the only field of expertise the team possess. They also have great expertise in engaging audiences by adding a bit of a local influence to their performances.


Source: Pilobolus’ Shadowland

Audiences love interaction. And this is increasingly true in today’s entertainment market which is competing with highly interactive choices from sport matches and video games to social media connected television shows where viewers can have their comments featured across national television screens.

But why is this interaction idea growing in popularity? Because there is an element of audience influence in which entertainment is tailored to the crowd.

This can create certain issues when it comes to the stage. In some forms of stage entertainment, audience interaction fits very well with the performance. Take comedians or singers for instance. Banter with the audience is essentially mandatory and ends up creating a show that is specifically targeted to the audience sitting in the theatre.

It even occurs in some musicals and plays with the opportunity to have certain lines changed to suit the geographic location of performance. Monty Python’s Spamalot has a song, ‘Diva’s Lament’, in which lines can be altered to suit the country of performance. For the Australian production, lines in the song originally written about Britney Spears were changed to Kylie Minogue. The same thing happened in A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum where Geoffrey Rush was given the liberty to mention Yarra Trams. And each of these instances left the audience with a special feeling as the entertainment had been specifically targeted for them.

It is not, however, always that easy. Great dramatic works don’t often allow for the liberty of geographic jokes. And what about performances that don’t involve any speaking at all?

Well, Shadowland has proven that this lack of dialogue does not present a barrier to creating targeted entertainment.

At the conclusion of their latest show in Melbourne, the company presents an encore of shadows with a distinctly Victorian theme. There are kangaroos, the Arts Centre spire, outback tours, surfing at Bells Beach and even a koala or two all set to the music from that Australian classic ‘Down Under’ by Men at Work. And this all culminated in the use of bodies to spell out the phrase Cheers Melbourne.

This simple acknowledgement of their audience and where they were performing managed to turn enthusiastic applause into a standing ovation as the audience absolutely loved the targeted encore presentation. And that was done all with the power of speech.

By providing this targeted entertainment which is influenced by the audience’s specific circumstances, there is an extra bit of value that they can take away from the experience. Not only did they see a fantastic performance – but the performers also took the time to simply acknowledge who had come to see them!

For more information on Pilobolus, visit their website:

To buy tickets to the remaining Melbourne performances, visit the Arts Centre Melbourne website:

Shadowland Australia