Thursday, January 8, 2015

SOLIDARITY: Charlie Hebdo Attack

IN THE WAKE of the January 7 terrorist attack on the satirical publication Charlie Hebdo, the International Association of Theatre Critics (AICT-IATC) has issued the following statement of solidarity with those who suffered as a result of the violent attempt to silence members of a free press:
The International Association of Theatre Critics (AICT-IATC) extends its deepest sympathies to the victims of the January 7 terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris. This act of senseless violence is a chilling assault on freedom of expression. For those who practice the profession of criticism, free expression is the air that sustains our life's work. Vicious attacks such as these threaten not only our daily work but also demand that we stand firm in the face of those who would shake civilization to its very core. We are all Charlie Hebdo
Margareta Sörenson, President of IATC
Michel Vaïs, Secretary General
L'Association internationale des critiques de théâtre (AICT-IATC) adresse ses condoléances les plus vives aux proches des victimes de l'attentat terroriste qui a eu lieu à Paris le 7 janvier contre Charlie Hebdo. Cette attaque violente constitue une atteinte à la liberté d'expression, condition vitale pour tous ceux qui exercent la profession de critique. Un pareil attentat constitue non seulement une menace pour nous tous dans notre travail quotidien, mais exige une position ferme contre ceux qui tentent de viser le cœur même de notre civilisation. Nous sommes tous Charlie Hebdo
Margareta Sörenson, Présidente de l'AICT
Michel Vaïs, Secrétaire général

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

DONATE: Critical Stages Needs You

Critical Stages
THE PRESIDENT and the secretary general of the International Association of Theatre Critics (AICT-IATC) have written to remind those who support critical engagement and advocacy in the arts that Critical Stages, the international web journal overseen by IATC, relies upon its readers for significant financial support. At the recent Beijing World Congress of AICT-IATC the General Assembly passed without objection a call for subsidies from national sections. The suggested minimum donation in that motion was $100 USD, though some members indicated that larger sections might be able to do more.

Since the inception of the journal, its functions have been largely supported by volunteer members of the editorial board and by the largesse provided by institutions who believed in the mission of the publication as detailed by the IATC and its former president (and former Critical Stages editor), Yun-Cheol Kim.

Illinois Theatre, the producing arm of the Department of Theatre at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has provided significant support for the past two funding cycles through institutional advertising. Given the technological nature of a global, bilingual publication such as Critical Stages, there are fixed costs for consistent upgrades and maintenance of the website in addition to the challenges of keeping the archives easily accessible.

Please take a moment to read this message from President Margareta Sörenson and Secretary General Michel Vaïs:
Our organization, IATC, is growing. More than ever before, we are reaching out to continents beyond the Western world—a very positive direction. We are also organizing successful conferences and important seminars for young critics. And another source of pride for IATC is Critical Stages, our web journal.
Today, the media world is changing at full speed: print media and the mainstream press are both diminishing platforms for our work, so that many theatre critics around the world are urgently seeking ways to publish. As we saw at our recent Beijing conference on criticism and the internet, many of us are finding that new technologies can provide support for the work of the critic.
In this context, our own web journal, Critical Stages, is essential to us all. A journal committed to excellence, it offers readers an overview of the performing arts internationally and, at the same time, gives us a platform of our own on the web, for nurturing our profession and inviting the world to share in the excitement and challenges of theatre criticism. 
We need to secure the future of Critical Stages, by giving it a stable financial life. Since before its first issue in 2009, the journal has been produced on a shoestring budget and by volunteers. Once again we thank Yun-Cheol Kim for his initative and team-building work in creating Critical Stages, and now we thank Savas Patsalidis for taking over as an editor working with a highly qualified group of editors. The plans and some funds are already in place for 2015, and a proper bank account is now reserved for Critical Stages and its costs. But for CS’s future: any kind of sponsors or donations are more than welcome! 
Now we ask all national associations to help by making an extra contribution. We know that each country’s economic situation is very different, and as a suggestion we propose contributions between 100 EU and 500 EU. Any amount, smaller or bigger, is of course welcome. Contributions must be sent to our treasurer: 
Stéphane Gilbart
or electronically, as a transfer, to this account: 
AICT – Critical Stages CIC
Iban FR76 3006 6106 8100 0200 4170 347
Our dream, naturally, is that Critical Stages will become an independent web journal, standing on its own feet, able to compensate contributors in some way and to finance the editorial work. To make the dream come true, we are developing a clear strategy for building a sound foundation, which will lead to long-term stability.
Thank you in advance for your solidarity and help!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

REPORT: Newsletter from Canada

Martin Morrow
OUR NEIGHBORS to the north have forwarded an interesting update on changes to the Canadian Theatre Critics Association. In the latest edition of Critically Speaking, the CTCA newsletter, new president Martin Morrow discusses some of the challenges that face the organization at this moment in which everything digital seems to overshadow conversations on art and aesthetics. Morrow acknowledges the accomplishments of his predecessor, longtime president of CTCA Don Rubin, who decided that four terms were enough and chose not to extend his tenure.

Editor of the influential six-volume World Encyclopedia of Contemporary Theatre, Rubin remains the international liaison for the Canadian organization to the International Association of Theatre Critics (AICT-IATC). Rubin shares some of his thoughts on the work of his time as president and points to a future, under Morrow's leadership, in which Canadian theatre criticism begins to work across certain cultural and lingustic barriers within the country as Canada continues to provide leadership among countries that prize multilinguistic approaches to arts and culture.
Don Rubin

Stephen Hunt from Calgary offers an interesting perspective on the Beijing World Congress of the IATC-AICT in this edition of the newsletter. The questions he raises about productions seen during the congress--largely limited to student productions at the Central Academy of Drama--will resonate with most congress attendees, as will his praise for the unfailingly patient and helpful organizers of the event. (His tongue-in-cheek call for something akin to a Clean Air Act to help reduce Beijing air pollution is amusing and exactly on point.) Hunt provides a clear, interesting overview on the conference presentations related to the topic of criticism in the Age of the Internet.

The newsletter also contains information on honorees of the Canadian association, which include the new president. The edition ends with a reprint of a well known essay by John Gassner on the "practicality of impractical criticism." You may access the entire newsletter here.