Sunday, October 23, 2011

WORLD CONGRESS: “Theatre Beyond the Theatre”

Tomasz Miłkowski
The Polish section of the International Association of Theatre Critics has announced the colloquium theme for XXVI World Congress of AICT-IATC to be held in Warsaw, 26–31 March 2012. Organizer Tomasz Miłkowski, who is president of the Polish section, issued the following call for colloquium papers:

Theatre Beyond the Theatre
As the art form evolves, theatre performance appears to escape the theatre space. Artists create work designed to be performed outside theatre buildings. Frequently they stage work in open spaces, postindustrial areas, desolate locations, and in the streets of our cities, as they depart the traditional theatrical building.

Even when artists produce their work within the theatre building itself they often seek nontraditional spaces such as cellars, attics, technical rooms, or corridors. This shift in production practice seems to be more than a marginal phenomenon. It is a change that appears to draw the audience into closer proximity with the artists.

As these new production techniques develop, theatre artists frequently employ modern techniques including electronic media that may give live performance the feel of a video game. Artists also draw from new performance techniques and employ visual media in their productions. In doing so, they create a new world of theatre influenced by light and music that occasionally renders literature tangential.

Perhaps this marks a return to the origins of theatre itself when actors, singers, and storytellers presented directly to their audiences in city squares, on streets, and in meeting places not created for theatrical purposes.

Is this a victory for visual culture and/or mass culture, or is it a transitional phenomenon? Are we critics able to describe this phenomenon and give it a name? How do we address this dramatic, spatial, and aesthetic reconsideration of contemporary theatre?

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Warsaw’s Old Town
During its meeting in Tbilisi, Georgia, the executive committee of the International Association of Theatre Critics (AICT-IATC) announced the dates and location for the group’s XXVI World Congress.

For the third time since the IATC was founded in 1956, Warsaw, Poland, will host the most significant gathering of theater critics from around the globe.

Combined with the XIX World Congress held in Gdansk, in 1998, Poland has proven an exceptional and gracious host to theater critics. The congress and its related events will be held March 26–31, 2012. The American Theatre Critics Association will be officially represented by Jeffrey Eric Jenkins, a member of the international executive committee, and by the association’s chair, Jay Handelman, and vice chair, Jonathan Abarbanel. Additional information on the XXVI World Congress will be posted as it becomes available.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

UPDATE: Statement on Robert Sturua

FROM the Executive Committee of the International Association of Theatre Critics (AICT-IATC)
Following our meeting with Robert Sturua at the Rustaveli National Theatre in Tbilisi on September 29, the executive committee of the International Association of Theatre Critics, makes the following statement:

As lovers of the theatre and supporters of freedom of expression, we have been deeply disturbed by the removal of Sturua from his post by the Georgian government. Like so many people around the world, we feared that the government had used certain statements attributed to Sturua as a pretext to punish a critical voice from within the artistic community.

Needless to say, however, as internationalists, we were also concerned about the xenophobic remarks that had been attributed to Sturua. At our meeting with him yesterday, Sturua was very honest about what he said in May of this year, and about his motivations. He expressed regret for the particular phrasing that he used and was at pains to distance himself from anti-Armenian or any other xenophobic beliefs; indeed, he put strong emphasis upon the important contribution that Armenians have made to Georgian culture over many centuries.

We welcome these statements by Sturua, which we believe are entirely genuine. Indeed, as is widely accepted, prior to this episode, there has been nothing in Sturua’s theatrical work or in his public life that might suggest any xenophobia on his part.

Having met with the director, it is obvious to us that this matter could have been resolved between the Georgian government and Sturua without the director of Georgia’s National Theatre being removed from his position.

Robert Sturua is a theatre director of high international standing. We hope that, even at this late stage, the Georgian government will recognize its error in removing him from the Rustaveli Theatre, and, in the spirit of freedom of expression and artistic excellence, invite him to take the position of artistic director once again.