Culminating in my PhD (awarded  2016), this research focused on the development and trialing of an open rehearsal model for non-expert audiences. Particular attention was paid to the experience of attending an open rehearsal and the subsequent performance experience, with the findings indicating a more intimate, personal relationship between rehearsal spectator and dancer.

The open rehearsal trials were conducted with Sydney Dance Company and The Australian Ballet, who have since expanded their behind-the-scenes offerings to the public.

This project was funded by an Australian Postgraduate Award and QUT Creative Industries. The Theatre and Performance Research Association (UK) also awarded a Postgraduate Bursary to enable me to present my findings in the UK.


You can read the full thesis if you’re super keen. I have also published shorter articles:

Ali-Haapala, A. (2022). Rehearsal. In M. Reason, L. Conner, K. Johanson & B. Walmsley (Eds.), Routledge Companion to Audience Research in Live Performance. Routledge.

Ali-Haapala, A. (2016). Connecting spectators to the ‘face’ of the dancer through open rehearsals. In R. Scollen & M. Smalley (Eds.), Resilience: Revive, Restore, Reconnect, Australasian Association for Drama Theatre & Performance Studies (ADSA) 2016 Conference Proceedings, (Vol. 1). Toowoomba: Artsworx.

Ali-Haapala, A. (2016). Open rehearsals changing audience perceptions. Published on the Arts Hub website.

Ali-Haapala, A. (2015). Sneak peek: Dance audience relationships during open rehearsals. Journal of Emerging Dance Scholarship3, 1-15.