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Roesner, David P. ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4371-1852 (1. March 2024): Listen Up! Strategies of Theatre Sound Towards Artistic Identity, Sonic Branding, and Acoustic Ecology. In: Art Style: Acoustic Pathways: After the Turn, ed. by Jörg U. Lensing and Christiane Wagner, Vol. 13, No. 1: pp. 173-188

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This article explores a range of interplays between sound and theatre by looking at three relational dimensions of theatre making: sound(ing) and the creative ensemble, sound(ing) as part of branding one’s work, and sound(ing) as an ethical pursuit in relation to a socio-acoustic ecology. Sound is a multifaceted and by nature truly interdisciplinary subject in the middle of nowhere. It is both completely ubiquitous and very elusive. Sound is also deeply connected to our identities. The way individual human beings sound (through speaking, singing, eating, walking, bodily functions, etc.) is as unique as their finger print. We are identified by our sound(s), and we develop a sense of identity by how we produce, use and engage with sound(s). The aim of this article is to highlight, how contemporary theatremakers in Europe use theatre Sound as a dispositif of ‘sounding,’ ‘voicing,’ ‘listening,’ and ‘musicking.’ Three aspects will be the focus: 1) Recently, theatremakers have innovated their ways of working by employing Sound as a means to transform their creative processes and create artistic identities. 2) In communicating these, theatremakers have embraced Sound as part of their branding, engaging in a complex confluence of audio marketing, auditory and sonic predispositions,1 on-stage voice styles, composition and sound design in performances, venue architectures, equipment choices etc. 3) Theatres have also become spaces to critique commercial sonification and its manipulative methods of grabbing attention. Theatre thus allows for a more conscious reflection on how music, voice, and sound can relate to bodies, texts and spaces. It reflects our rapidly changing acoustic ecology, and the ethics of the inclusion and exclusion of individual sounds from our sonic environment.2 Case studies will serve to illustrate and test the arguments made.

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