Jenna Watt's new show Flâneurs explores the 'bystander effect' at the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe

This article is from 2012


One-woman show at the Fringe 2012 explores violence and intervention

If you and some friends witnessed an attack in the street, would you do something? Jenna Watt’s new one-woman play, Flâneurs, explores ‘the bystander effect’. It’s the phenomenon that occurs when a group of people see an emergency but nobody steps in.

‘The larger the crowd, the less likely it is that anyone will intervene,’ says Watt. ‘The piece was originally inspired by a friend of mine who was attacked in London, and there were bystanders at the time, so it’s my exploration of what happened.’

Violence is important to the effect. If someone simply trips and falls, passers-by stop to help, but there’s something about an attack, and a perpetrator, that makes people hesitate. And there are echoes of this in the way theatre works, with the audience as a large group, generally silently complicit in the action. Watt’s production hopes to make the most of that dynamic.

‘There’s a point in the play where the audience is asked to think about their relationship to a moment of violence … I’m hoping that they can see themselves in the show.’

Summerhall, 0845 874 3001, 5–26 Aug (not 17 & 18), 2pm, £8 (£6). Previews 3 & 4 Aug, £8 (£6).


  • 3 stars

Jenna Watt. We've all seen it happen. We've all heard it happen. We've all crossed the road to avoid it. We've all stood by. We've all hoped it would stop. Flâneurs is a new work by Edinburgh-based live artist and director Jenna Watt. Flâneurs explores the nature of violence in public spaces, from a pedestrian subway in…

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