Happy Birthday to Me (or Blow Out the Candles, Make a Wish)

The New Ottawa Critics is celebrating its 5th birthday this week, so this Dark Day Monday Tuesday, we’re here to tell you a little bit more about our plans for the upcoming year and why we need your help more than ever. Over the last 5 years, the New Ottawa Critics and I have been … Continue reading Happy Birthday to Me (or Blow Out the Candles, Make a Wish)

The Collaborative Audience

It was brought to my attention last week that I was talking about theatre criticism as a collaboration between theatre artist, critic, and spectator without really exploring what that means. I touch on the relationships between these types of people a bit in the article on The Separation of Art and Critic, but I think it might … Continue reading The Collaborative Audience

The Critic is Dead (Long Live The Critic)

    The critics panel last week at undercurrents Festival had some interesting discussion about the future of arts journalism. I am going to take this opportunity to further flesh out some of the emerging trends that were discussed at the conclusion of the panel. Principally, I want to talk about our long-form brand of criticism, … Continue reading The Critic is Dead (Long Live The Critic)

Scarcity Culture (or Attitudes for Making Art)

Scarcity culture is the persistent systemic feeling that there’s not enough of something to go around. In theatre, that usually means one of two things. In the first place, usually from the mouths of artists: there isn’t enough audience for their work. In the second place, usually from the mouths of people who consume art: … Continue reading Scarcity Culture (or Attitudes for Making Art)

Freedom to Engage

I’ve already written about the ecosystem that has been making (theatre) writers into bloggers. A lot of people complain about this transition, and fall into the timeless trap of glorifying the place criticism has historically occupied. I believe the transition to online criticism actually marks an important opportunity for us all to redefine and re-democratize … Continue reading Freedom to Engage

Idealism in the Theatre (Or: The Role of the Critic)

Critics are positioned in a middle ground between the artist and audience, each of whom perceive the critic (in their ideal form) to be in uniquely service to their interests. From the perspective of theatre creators, the critic is part of their publicity machine. We write reviews principally for the purpose of steering audiences towards … Continue reading Idealism in the Theatre (Or: The Role of the Critic)

Zero Stars for Star-Ratings

  Zero Stars for Star-Ratings by Wes Babcock         How many stars? Four stars? Two stars? Five stars? Three stars? Zero Stars. Okay, you can stop reading now.         This is the only time I will participate in the star rating system, because it’s clear that the star rating system is fundamentally reductive, and serves … Continue reading Zero Stars for Star-Ratings