This paper offers a summary of a doctoral research that investigated the production of meaning in autobiographical performance in dramatherapy, and how it can be described as emerging from the relational and embodied encounter between performers and witnessing spectators. The study responded to a need in autobiographical performance research to analyse and understand the processes and mechanisms of connection between the staged experience of the performer and the lived experience of the witnessing spectator, and how these create possibilities of new meanings for both.
The findings of the research reveal complex relational dynamics within the shared space of autobiographical performance and their impact on the meaning making process. The research suggests that the production of meaning in autobiographical performance is located at the intersection between aesthetic, embodied and intersubjective processes. The findings show a reciprocal relationship between the role of the performer and the witnessing spectator, and the way in which they co-author and complete their respective experiences. As part of that dynamic, the research unveils the significance of embodied and pre-reflective processes in the production of meaning. Finally, the research shows how aesthetic processes in autobiographical performances regulate the transformational potential of the encounter between performers and spectators.