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)

Approval Creep (or why I won’t say everything is amazing)

This week I am going to talk about a rather insidious process I am calling ‘approval creep.’ We’ve touched on something like this before, in a discussion about star ratings, but this part of the conversation is a more constructive (rather than deconstructive) look at the way our particular brand of criticism works (and doesn’t … Continue reading Approval Creep (or why I won’t say everything is amazing)

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

The New Criticism (We are all Bloggers)

What’s a theatre critic good for anyway? Theatre Critics, and art critics more generally, are going extinct; at least in the form we have known them for a few centuries. An article by Stephen Hunt ran in the Globe back in October, discussing the midwinter ecosystem of cultural criticism in this country: Postmedia has pared … Continue reading The New Criticism (We are all Bloggers)