The Changing Face of Theatre Criticism

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The changing face of theatre criticism in Atlanta has been a subject that fascinated me for some time, having closely observed it for 25 years now. There are a lot of things I miss about the days when you’d get the Friday AJC and one or two theatre reviews would be on the front page, maybe with some more inside. And there are things about those days that I don’t miss (the power that one or two reviewers had). But I can’t help but see this as part of a much larger picture, how the nature of media has changed over that time (more and more rapidly, it seems). Nowadays, it seems like anybody can start a blog or a website and be a critic, and just about anybody (it takes a little more money) can start a theatre company. There’s a lot to be said for this, but we’ve also lost a lot, and the story is still changing so much that I don’t think we can really see where we’re at.

What is the relationship of the artist and the critic? What has it been in the past, what is it now, and what should it be? I’ve been thinking for years now about writing a play or a novel about this subject, but it seems to me like the story is still emerging, and no telling where it will go next.

Peter Hardy