Design & Style, Arts & Entertainment

The Audience

Es Devlin

Lesson time 11:08 min

Es invites you to look for systems in nature and architecture as sources of inspiration for your art. Gain an understanding of the symbiotic relationship between art and science and expand your ability to build worlds using patterns in nature.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: The Audience • Be An Audiene Whisperer • The Biofeedback Effect • Audience Of One • An Invitation


[MUSIC PLAYING] ES DEVLIN: For an audience who's turning up at a theater, they're doing something which is quite unusual to them and every other aspect of contemporary life. They're putting themselves out of reach of others. They're committing to just this little community, this temporary society. And they're committing to just together listening to that one story, so you have to offer a return on that. One of the things that you're working with if you work in performance in any way or even if you're working in anything that's going to be shared-- it doesn't have to be performance-- one of your prime materials is anticipation. Whether you're writing a book or whether you're creating a piece of art or whether you are painting a painting, whether you're making a performance, the chances are that the people who ultimately receive it will anticipate it in some way. How are you going to work that anticipation? And with theater, as in so many other things related to theater, the experience is perhaps more concentrated because it's happening in real time with people all together. So fans who are attending a pop concert, their anticipation has been felt often for days in the lead up to the concert. They've often been cuing. Their anticipation began when the tickets went on sale, sometimes a year in advance when they queued on the phone to buy their tickets. Remember these are people who know the music better than the performers themselves often. So you're working with that anticipation. That's perhaps the most important ingredient in your practice is the hope, people's hope of what they might experience when they come. And remember for us now, we're so used to short experiences. We're used to know a 30-second clip on a phone, so for us to make the effort to leave our houses, to travel out sometimes to the perimeter of a city to get to an arena or a stadium, even to get to a theater, to take the time and then to commit two hours of our life to it, there's anxiety involved. There's anticipation and anxiety. So remember that these are part of your material that you're working with and use them to your advantage and use them to the advantage of the audience as well. For example, Adele wanted to bring herself to her audience. She hadn't sung in front of an audience for several years. She wanted to bring her whole being to them. And it was her idea. She said do you know what, they've been waiting for me for five years. When they arrive in the arena, what if they hear me asleep. What if they hear this sleeping artist waiting to wake up? So when the audience arrived in the arena, they just heard these sounds of breathing and sleep. It was her. She recorded it sleeping, breathing, and then the lights went out, and at the beginning of the show, a pair of giant closed eyes that had been visible to the audience just slightly flickering, her very distinctive eyes. The moment the show began, they opened. The audience's anticipation...

About the Instructor

For more than 20 years, Es Devlin has sculpted immersive experiences for opera, drama, and performers like Beyoncé, Billie Eilish, The Weeknd, and U2. Now the artist and designer shares her process so you can cultivate creativity in any form. From sketching to collaborating to creating powerful visual stories, learn how to turn the abstract—your ideas and imagination—into art you can see, feel, and share.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Es Devlin

Designer and artist Es Devlin teaches you her approach to creating powerful visual stories and cultivating creativity in any form.

Explore the Class
Sign Up