Useful Terminology

What do we mean when we talk about ‘practice-led research’, ‘live interpretation’, and ‘museum theatre’?

Live Interpretation is a broad term, used to cover any live interaction between museum / site representatives (i.e. staff, volunteers, partners, etc.) and visitors. This includes many living history-type activities – ranging from non-costumed demonstrations of historical craft to storytelling and costumed first- and third-person interpretation – but the term is also used to refer to activities such as guided tours, education workshops, theatre performances and demonstrations.

Practice-led and practice-based research are broad terms that denote the use of non-academic practices as experimental / experiential methods of inquiry within a formal research endeavour.

Museum Theatre is a specific kind of interpretation that employs fictional activity to communicate ideas, facts and concepts. A museum theatre performer assumes the role of a character (as a solo gallery character, an interpreter or as part of a play or scenario) in order to entertain and educate visitors. They take on the role of a particular character in a particular circumstance in order to help visitors appreciate and understand the story in hand and, through that, some aspect of the host museum or site.

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