Thursday, January 27, 2011

BOOK: Margaret Croyden’s Journey

The Years In Between

Our longtime colleague Margaret Croyden—internationalist extraordinaire—has a new book in print. The Years In Between: A Reporter’s Journey World War II—The Cold War recounts Croyden’s memories and experiences as an actor “embedded” with American occupation troops in France and Germany just after World War II, who later went on to become the renowned critic and journalist we all know now. Her other books include Lunatics, Lovers and Poets: The Contemporary Experimental Theater and Conversations with Peter Brook: 1970-2000.

According to the publisherThe Years In Between is drawn “from diaries, tapes, and memories,” as Croyden “recounts her youthful adventures and struggles and a later transformation, this time ideological, wrought by visits to Berlin, Moscow, Leningrad, Beirut, and Jerusalem to report the theater scene and interview cultural and political leaders. Her vivid descriptions reveal a sharp mind, a critical eye, a humanistic sensibility, and a fearless dedication to the truth.”

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

WEB: New UK Resource

A Circle dinner at the Savoy in the late 1940s.
Our colleagues in the UK have unveiled a fine new website. It is the web home of the The Critics’ Circle, which includes dance, drama, film, music and visual arts. According to information authored by Peter Cargin, “The Critics’ Circle is the oldest critics organization in the world and to date has over 400 members who work in the media through the United Kingdom.”

The site is valuable for its current perspectives on criticism as well as fascinating bits of history of the UK association, which are posted under a “history” link.

Cargin includes a telling quote that has currency today:
“Criticism is passing, as many of us know, through a difficult phase. Its field is becoming more and more restricted. There are fewer papers than there were before the war and less space even in these.”

The words were written by S.L. Littlewood in 1923 first edition of The Critics’ Circular. Littlewood was at the time president of the group.

In addition to the historical information, there is a wealth of information on a variety of topics such as awards, events, and the ongoing challenges we face in arts criticism.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

OPEN LETTER: Oppression of International Artists

From Association internationale des critiques de théâtre / International Association of Theatre Critics (AICT-IATC)


In the wake of governmental repression of theater artists in Hungary and, more recently, in Belarus, the International Association of Theatre Critics (AICT-IATC) adds its voice to the global chorus calling for greater freedom on the pages of publications and on the stages of oppressed theatre companies.

As a non-profit, Non-Govermental Organization recognized under Statute B of UNESCO, the purpose of the IATC is to promote international cooperation through international engagement and advocacy for building bridges among cultures. In the recent repression and imprisonment of theatre artists, Aleksandr G. Lukashenko gives credence to critics who have called Belarus “the last true remaining dictatorship in the heart of Europe.” According to the New York Times, the deeply contentious election of December 19, 2010, after which Lukashenko claimed to have received 79 percent of the vote, led to the leader's announcement that more than 600 “bandits and saboteurs,” including several of his opponents, had been arrested.

The leadership of the IATC is deeply disturbed by the rising international tide of oppression of the arts and literature, especially of theatres and theatre artists. We deplore the conviction and brief imprisonment of Belarus Free Theatre's company manager Artiom Zhelezniak on charges of "illegal assembly." We celebrate the departure from Belarus of company members Nikolai Khalezin, Natalia Kolyada and others, who have been recognized internationally and were honored with a "Special Mention" by the Europe Theatre Prize.

Members of the IATC are theatre critics, but we are also theatre advocates and we will resist all governmental attempts to censor or otherwise marginalize the important work of our global theatre artists. When some artists and writers are not free to think, work, and create in an unrestricted manner, we all suffer a loss of freedom and of human possibility.

We call on all who love freedom—artists, audience members, governments—to rally against these specific oppressions, to agitate for greater creative freedom, and to join our voices in support of those who cannot, or may not, speak for themselves. We encourage our members to shine a bright light on these events and to keep these matters in the forefront of our global artistic discourse.

If we join together in this struggle, we shall prevail.


Yun-Cheol Kim, President (Korea)
Michel Vaïs, Secretary General (Canada)

International Association of Theatre Critics (IATC)
Association internationale des critiques de théâtre (AICT)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

YOUNG CRITICS: Seminar Announced

From Michel Vaïs, Secretary General of AICT-IATC

Palace Square, St. Petersburg
The International Association of Theatre Critics (AICT-IATC) is pleased to announce a Young Critics’ Seminar to be held in conjunction with the 14th Europe Theatre Prize in St. Petersburg, Russia, April 12-17, 2011. The seminar will be comprised of three groups (working in the English, French and Russian languages), each of which will be open to a maximum of 10 participants.

Applications are invited from professional theatre critics between 18 and 35 years of age—there is flexibility in the upper age limit, members of the American Theatre Critics Association should contact International chair Jeffrey Eric Jenkins before submitting an application. The application form also requires a one-page CV, three examples of writing as a professional critic and a letter of recommendation from the critic’s national section of IATC.

Hermitage Museum Complex, St. Petersburg

Successful applicants will be responsible for the cost of travel to and from St. Petersburg, and the cost of any visa required for entry to Russia. However, the Europe Theatre Prize generously offers participants free hotel accommodation (you may be required to share a room with another participant of the same gender), meals and tickets for performances.

The seminar groups will be led by three experienced theatre critics: Jean-Pierre Han (Francophone group), Mark Brown (Anglophone group) and Nikolai Pesochinsky (Russophone group). The annual Europe Theatre Prize has been awarded to many great theatre makers (Krystian Lupa, Patrice Chéreau, Peter Zadek, Lev Dodin), and showcases many world-class productions.

Applications are requested to be sent by e-mail to AICT-IATC Director of Seminars Jean-Pierre Han before February 28, 2011. Members of the American Theatre Critics Association considering application should contact Jeffrey Eric Jenkins by February 1, 2011. A list of successful applicants will be made available as soon as possible so participants may make arrangements for travel and visas.