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The landscape of arts reporting in general -- and theatre criticism, in particular -- is changing.
Diminishing resources at all media outlets have dealt a harsh blow to the sector and, as a result, the days of the salaried critic are waning. We have legitimate concerns about this turn of events, but we also acknowledge that many writers in our community are working to address the situation by contributing reviews on social media and websites such as Capital Critics’ Circle, New Ottawa Critics and Apartment613. We support this and want to deepen our engagement with these like-minded arts advocates. So how do we do it?
One of the ways we hope to enhance this relationship is by offering an embedded critic program at GCTC. I had heard about embedded criticism before, but was reminded of its impact more recently when Eric and I participated in a PACT conference call with Karen Fricker. Here’s a great article she’s written about the process that includes some interesting comments and suggestions from participants.
The first production participating in this creative exchange is Angel Square. Our process allows the invited critics to attend:
1. The first reading and design presentation, with the entire company and invited stakeholders;
2. A mid-stream rehearsal while the director is still in the process of making adjustments to blocking, etc.;
3. A technical rehearsal during the final days before opening.
We hope that the experience in rehearsal will give the reviewers a clear understanding of our resources and our goals, against which they can weigh the success of the production. While this project is in its very early stages, we’re excited to see what might come of the collaboration.
Are you a local critic interested in learning more about the process? Do you think it’s a worthwhile exercise? I’d love to hear what you think!