Researching comedy, drama and social class

People from working class backgrounds are more likely to prefer comedy-based theatre shows, new research has suggested. Published in the Journal of Cultural Economics, the study revealed the 'intellectual class' is more likely to opt for stage-based dramas.

Investigators from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the University of Newcastle also discovered those from wealthier parts of society may be more inclined to watch professional reviews.

JM Grisolia, Researcher at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, noted that although theatre is often viewed as the preserve of the elite, there is a popular side to this form of entertainment that attracts all kinds of people.

The expert stated: "The results are very useful for marketing actions and sales policies and help us to understand the role that theatre plays in each strand of society."

It was shown that while a well-off class represented 43.1 per cent of a the investigation's sample group, 31.5 per cent preferred reviews and 25.4 per cent showed the greatest interest in comedy.

Chartered Psychologist Dr Mike Lowis comments:

"I see from the report that more young people were in the 'working class' group - the group that favoured comedy at the expense of stage-based dramas. It would be interesting to see results based on age alone, regardless of socio-economic class.

"Appreciation of humour embraces all age groups, regardless of wealth and intellectual status. There is, however, a wide range of performed humour of which expletive-rich stand-up and the more subtle Oscar Wilde wit may be at opposite ends of the continuum.

"Would there be a difference in average age and maybe socio-economic status between the audiences at, for example, these two performances? Taken at face value, maybe younger people, who are either still studying or trying to establish themselves in a competitive world, and the less well-off (probably all the same cohort), have a greater need for stress release through humour than do richer and/or more intellectual (and probably older and established) members of the population."