The Majority

David Overend (Other), Rob Drummond

Research output: Non-textual formPerformance


Commissioned and produced by the Royal National Theatre (NT), this project investigated the theatre audience as a paradigm for electorates in large-scale political events. The production utilised voting technology to interrogate democratic processes in the controlled environment of the theatre studio. A series of votes were conducted on practical, moral and narrative elements of the production; and the audience's decisions were immediately enacted in the 'here and now' of the live performance. This direct responsiveness to the collective will of the voters revealed a broad range of conflicting and contradictory viewpoints, even within the ostensible homogeneity of the NT audience base.

This project developed previous research on the performances of democracy in the context of the Scottish independence referendum: both practical (a 2014 production, commissioned by NT and funded by Creative Scotland at the Arches arts centre, Glasgow); and theoretical (a co-authored essay in the 'Electoral Theatre' edition of Contemporary Theatre Review). This initial research was extended in this production by placing the audience at the centre of the enquiry. It was innovative and experimental in its approach to audience participation, and consequently initiated a lively political debate in numerous reviews, blogs and opinion pieces.

The project was directed and co-conceived by the researcher, and was written and performed by the principle collaborator, Rob Drummond. The researcher was responsible for multiple aspects of the production, from script development to decisions on set, video, lighting and sound design. The researcher also participated in several talks, a public post-show discussion and associated podcast; and wrote an accompanying essay in Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, and a Director's Note in the published script. The production was programmed for a three-week run in NT's 400-seat Dorfman Theatre in August 2017. A filmed version is now available for viewing, by appointment, at the NT archive.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017
  • National Theatre Podcast: The Majority

    David Overend (Interviewee)

    Aug 2017

    Activity: OtherPublic engagement, outreach and knowledge exchange - Participation in interview for web based media

Cite this