Audience Feedback

The following is a selection of audience responses to some of the participating performances, and to the Cymbeline Anthropocene closing symposium. These anonymous questionnaires were made available to audiences for both kinds of event using a Google form shared via QR code in performance programmes, using links during live or online broadcasts, and on social media. 

The responses presented here are collated from a number of respondents, so each selection offers a variety of perspectives within or across different questions. Some findings from the CA team as we analyzed the responses we received:

  1. The performances with the highest response rates were those with short production runs in a single area (eg. the La Trobe University and Willow Globe performances). This may be due to additional logistical challenges faced by online and touring performances.
  2. The majority of respondents offered brief comments, most of which were favourable, observational, or expressed enjoyment of the viewing experience.
  3. A smaller subset of respondents and many offered criticism of specific directorial choices or the effectiveness of a performance's ecodramaturgical vision. 

For more readings on the role of audience feedback in ecodramaturgy, please consult our Resources page. Thank you to all the companies who helped the CA team to gather this information, and to the audience members who provided their thoughts!

Audience responses to the performances

La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia

1. What did you find most memorable about this performance?

"The performers themselves and their take."

"The bushfire scene. It was hard to watch because of how familiar it is. It reminded me of the coverage of last year's fires, and the ones in 2009."

"Calling the roll of the audience."

"Vulnerability and openness of performances."

"Some really lively acting."

"Actors’ command of the difficult language."

"Imogen Gallagher [as Innogen] was excellent." 

2. Were there any moments in the performance where you felt the play related to the local environment? How was that relationship explored?

"The bushfire scene. I liked how the scene shows how traumatic the experience is. Seeing all the characters fighting for their lives was really confronting to see. And seeing everyone in the shelter right after the inferno was heartbreaking. You can feel the sense of loss there. Especially with Cymbeline. One moment he's a king in fine robes roaming a grand castle. The next he's in civilian clothes in a shelter and possibly in the early stages of developing PTSD. The production gives a great insight into just how nightmarish bushfires really are. And I guess the characters of Belarus and his companions have something environmental attached to it. They are characters who live off the land and set the bar for treating nature with love. This is hinted at throughout the play, and I think a bit more can be made out of their existence in the woods. If developed a bit more, they could become role models for the perfect echo warriors. I feel like there could be more done to explore the environment. The play is billed as a commentary on echo issues, but this doesn't really come in till the end. Maybe it might help to look over the script again, and see how the creative vision can be established earlier and made more clear."

"On a surface level people wore local costume and the crisis of fires was a plot point."

"The fires - bushfires are common in Australia and the fear and indecision was there?"

"Only that the battle with the Roman forces had become a bushfire."

"Yes. Fires. Natural world abd [sic] healing and menace."

"I really liked the bush fire scene."

3. What environmental messages did this performance invite you to reflect upon?

"It invited me to consider the anguish of bushfires and the trauma that follows."

"None, I think this play and likely this whole research project will say nothing about the environment at all. The backwards engineering of a environmental message onto this play comes off as almost annoying in how pointless it is. What is the actionable praxis this play recommends, the only thing I can gather is that the working class should risk their lives dealing with environmental crisis to be recognised and awarded by the state, after the problems have been solved. But I don't believe the creatives involved in this production hold that political stance."

"I was too absorbed in the performance to think of the environment."

"Our separation from wilderness but also our connection to our [sic]. "

"That bushfire can be caused by human actions and it is an existential threat. I didn't think that the cause of the bushfire was clearly linked to the consequences of not paying tribute, which, for audience members not familiar with the play, could have made the later imprisonment of Roman troops confusing."

"Interaction between people and the environment."

"Humanity’s interaction with the environment is like a power struggle. "

4. What do you think Shakespeare contributes to the experience of environmentally oriented theatre?

"Humane and empathetic."

"He has a great love for rural areas (which probably comes from him being a country boy). In Cymbeline and his many other plays, he uses forests and the country side a lot, and he treats nature with great respect and passion. When it comes to showing the world how we should respect the environment, Shakespeare definitely opens the door for that. His words can easily be used as slogans for why we should stop logging or do something about climate change. He has the power to make people show how beautiful the environment is, and if staged with as much passion as the text, he can no doubt contribute to making the world a greener place."

"I think there are some plays which, depending on where they are performed, can be seen as a beautiful celebration of the environment. Shakespeare in the park style productions can play with this balance in nice ways, and encourage people to appreciate the environment while they are sitting in it."

"Shakespeare didn't write about the issues facing a contemporary environment, which doesn't mean Shakespeare can't be read in this way but there are a great deal of contemporary playwrights who are writing plays about these issues in more direct ways that don't require reworking core concepts and elements of the play to make it vaguely about the environment."


"We can use his words to reflect on the way our world is - in this case, the production focuses on wildfire which affects us."

"Shakespeare is endlessly adaptable and always relevant to the human condition."

"Cultural capital."

"Shakespeare offers ‘fresh’ 500 year old perspective on what it is to be human."

5. Optional: please add any other thoughts or information you would like to share.

"The cast were amazing. Everyone gave passionate and human performances. My favourite is Zach as the title character. He perfectly captures the king's authority while also showing his vulnerability. He gave a very nuanced performance. And we also loved his Angry Dome moment where he goes out shouting in the corridors. We couldn't stop laughing at that!"

"The director's notes of this show encouraged the audience to see Cymbeline as an instance of queer/trans theatre because it contains cross-dressing and metaphorical language that implies a muddling of biological sex. This felt cheap, and tokenistic."

"Every actor gave an amazing performance!!!"

"Great work by everyone. Thank you."

"Well done! Such an ambitious play to take on. A very disciplined production with some lively performances. So much story and so many lines and not a single stumble that I noticed."

"I really enjoyed the play thank you. "

Willow Globe Theatre, Powys, Wales 

1. What did you find most memorable about this performance?

"The venue! A theater made entirely of living willow in the middle of rural Wales?! WOW!"

2. Were there any moments in the performance where you felt the play related to the local environment? How was that relationship explored?

"There was a knowing chuckle from the audience when Innogen asked how Wales was lucky enough to have such a Haven, which was a reminder that the green world of that play was set in a place like the one we were in (whether or not Shakespeare went to Wales and pictured such a place!)"

3. What environmental messages did this performance invite you to reflect upon?

"Being in that venue and in rural Wales had me thinking about both the way theater can make itself more sustainable, and also the regenerative importance of wild landscapes, both for the human soul and for all of life on earth. When we think about re-wilding, we are thinking about making more of the world look like rural Wales."

4.  What do you think Shakespeare contributes to the experience of environmentally oriented theatre?

"He is very attuned to the natural world in his writing, and his plays are performed in outdoor spaces around the world. And they are out of copyright and infinitely adaptable. There is so much possibly."

5. Optional: please add any other thoughts or information you would like to share.

"Phil and Sue are doing wonderful work at the Willow Globe, and have clearly created a community gem that means the world to many people. It was a privilege to be there."

Audience responses to the online performance symposium

1. How did you participate in the symposium?  

"Virtually (YouTube Livestream)."

2. Please describe the environment from which you participated

"Edinburgh, Scotland."

"Unceded Wolastoq and Mi'kmaq territory."

"My desk, which has a view of a city street." 

3. Did you watch or attend any of the collaborating performances before this symposium (including on our Youtube channel)? Please indicate which performance(s) and where.

"I had the pleasure of seeing the MSIP production in 2021 in Pocatello."

4. Which symposium sessions did you attend?


5. Which sessions or discussions did you find most memorable during your participation? Which particular themes or threads throughout the symposium interested you most?

"The Willow Globe looks like the most desirable location to stage this play, and I was delighted to learn more about the process by which the MSIP production came to be. I loved the way they used Nature as the power instead of Jupiter. The image of Iachimo abusing nature (which climbing over a tree trunk instead of out of a storage trunk!) in the Yosemite production was very powerful."

6. What environmental messages did this symposium invite you to reflect upon?

"As witnessed in a number of Shakespeare plays, the ending and resolution only comes when the parties who have done harm recognize their part in that and ask forgiveness. Clearly not much progress can be made on climate change until the guilty parties recognize and change their behaviors. And the onus of this is, of course, greatest on those with the power to do the most harm. In this play that figure would be Cymbeline. I find it interesting that Iachimo appears to express the greatest remorse for the harm he did, which although heinous, is still not the level of harm caused by Cymbeline."

7.  What do you think Shakespeare contributes to the experience of environmentally oriented theatre?

"He uses nature as a force and refuge in many of the plays and his nature-metaphors are some of the richest and most poetic. The messages brought out in this project could be brought out in quite a few, perhaps all, of his plays and poems."

8. Optional: please add any other thoughts or information you would like to share.

"It's always struck me that the final act of Cymbeline shifts into an almost farcical set of revelations and usually elicits some good laughs. The absurdity of all the good-luck chances that have to happen to create this happy ending after such a tangled plot of destruction is apparent. We have to recognize, however, (as many people still chose not to believe in human-caused climate change) that we cannot just hope for things to get better, for happy chances (the sudden development of cheap practical cold-fusion for example) to take place in the nick of time. All options must be pursued and everyone who is still in denial must be met where they are to try to convince them. Plays are one very good way to reach out, particularly in smaller and rural communities like those served by MSIP. I've long been a fan of the humanizing work these plays can do to evoke more compassion toward each-other and now I see more that it can extend to our environment as well. Thank you for this wonderful symposium and the work all of these companies are doing!"