Canadian theatre criticism will look considerably different in fifteen years than it does now, argues Karen Fricker, because it is already a field in ongoing, radical transition, largely triggered by the global decline in print media and the rise of the Internet. Fricker provides an overview of the shifting dynamics throughout the Western world between critics working for mainstream outlets and independent (and largely unremunerated) bloggers, arguing that new voices are adding dynamism to the field. In Canada as elsewhere, the amount of paid criticism is in decline, and while bloggers have emerged in many markets, they are still considered a less significant source of legitimation by artists and funding agencies than their mainstream counterparts. These changes are nonetheless causing anxiety among mainstream critics, as became evident in the strongly negative reaction of Toronto critics to an attempt by the Factory Theatre to delay the press night of a production in September 2014 in an attempt to favour public and community responses over reviews. Fricker further considers the ethics and practicalities around new forms of critical engagement, including theatre organizations’ hiring of critics and “embedded” or behind-the-scenes criticism, and exhorts theatre scholars to take a leadership role in shaping Canada’s theatre critical future.


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pp. 49-53
Launched on MUSE
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