From the audience’s point of view, going to the theatre is an encounter with an art work, a direction and acting. But, this experience goes together with certain forms of sociability relating to theatre outings. How do people choose which play to see, whose advice do they follow and with whom do they go to the theatre? Although almost one in five French people go to the theatre at least once a year, only 4% do so alone. There are two major ways in which people attend with others: going either as a couple or as a group of friends who regularly organise theatre trips together. The former is far more common amongst men, whilst the latter category sees a much greater prevalence of women.
This study is based on secondary analysis of the last edition of Pratiques culturelles des Français (2008) and on a series of interviews with audience members of various theatres within Paris and the provinces; it analyses the various forms of sociability associated with theatre outings. In the case of theatre visits, it confirms the feminisation of the culture and reveals the role which women play in organising these outings.