Friday, June 26, 2015

REPORTS: An American in Sweden

Jay Handelman
THE INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE of the American Theatre Critics Association was represented at the recent executive committee meeting of AICT-IATC last month by Foundation ATCA president Jay Handelman. Held this time in Malmö, Sweden, on the occasion of the biennial festival of the arts, executive committee meetings allow for lively exchanges of ideas related to the business of managing our various associations. When the delegates are not in meetings, they have the opportunity to sample local theatrical offerings and report back to our membership in the United States. As someone with numerous experiences in our international meetings, Handelman served as delegate for Jeffrey Eric Jenkins, chair of the International Committee and vice president of the International Association of Theatre Critics. The critic for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Handelman also reported on his theatergoing experience for his readers in Florida.

Margareta Sörenson
The Malmö meeting, chaired by AICT-IATC president Margareta Sörensen of Sweden, was devoted largely to discussions about future opportunities for international seminars for young critics and for established critics, the planned 2016 World Congress, and developments aimed at helping the AICT-IATC webjournal, Critical Stages, to sustain the growth it has experienced since its inception. Now overseen by its third editor, Savas Patsalidis of Greece, Critical Stages has embarked on a project of outreach and development aimed at larger readership and greater impact in cultural discourse.

[The minutes of the executive committee meeting are available in English here, and in French here.]

Jean-Pierre Han
Jean-Pierre Han, the director of seminars who represents France and serves as one of three vice presidents of AICT-IATC, reported that there have been numerous challenges in getting seminars to fruition--there were more than a half dozen proposed in Beijing--due to shifting budget priorities in potential host countries and the cost of travel for potential attendees. There are positive signs that a Young Critics' Seminar will be arranged in Bangkok, Thailand, at the end of October 2015, but there are no additional details. A call was sent by ATCA chairman Bill Hirschman to all American Theatre Critics Association members about an Established Critics event in Novi Sad, Serbia, set for September 2015. The application deadline was June 20. There is also a possibility of an Established Critics' Seminar in Buenos Aires, Argentina, late in 2015, though there is no further information as of this date.

Ivan Medenica
In Beijing last fall, Serbia proposed hosting the 2016 World Congress and leaders continue to discuss the possibility of making it work. According to Ivan Medenica, the representative from Serbia, the country's current financial outlook and upcoming elections may lead AICT-IATC to seek a different arrangement for 2016. Other possibilities are under consideration, including an alternative format for hosting a congress, which is currently under consideration by the leadership of the AICT-IATC executive committee.

Savas Patsalidis
The vision for Critical Stages continues to evolve under the leadership of editor Patsalidis, managing editor Don Rubin, and executive editor Jenkins. With overhead amounting to the equivalent of $10,000 USD, the publication now seeks donations and advertising from individuals and groups. Illinois Theatre has committed to advertising its programs of study on the site through 2016. An ongoing challenge to the journal are the archives of the first ten volumes, which have been rendered inaccessible due to changes in technology and technical personnel. Patsalidis offers a strong vision for the publication's continued improvement, which will ultimately reflect well on the organization.

Finally, the organization has created a logo contest that seeks submissions for a visual representation of the association that takes into account the contemporary dimensions of "live performance" as AICT-IATC engages with them. Submissions should be forwarded to Michel Vaïs, the secretary general of the association, by September 21, 2015.