Wednesday, May 15, 2013


When a writer starts something new, it is customary to write a sort of baptism of fire, based on a self-critique inherent to writing itself. Why am I doing this? What good can it possibly serve? Once more unto the breach... and for what? Any writer worth their salt is fully aware of the futility of the exercise, they go into it with their eyes open.

Fortunately, I am not a writer.

This blog is born out of some simple conditions, one of which being that I am in Berlin for the next 6 months (May-December 2013), another is my continuing interest in theatre criticism, mostly from being on the other end of it, and this blog owes considerable debt to Alison Croggon's Theatrenotes ( which before her retiring the blog in early 2013, set the bar for theatre writing, and to a lesser extent Andrew Fuhrmann's Neandellus blog (now Primitive Surveys, and Jana Perkovic's blog Guerilla Semiotics ( All are Melbourne theatre critics. Another condition, one which also brings me to Berlin, is the perception, real or otherwise, that this is a hub for global theatre - that what happens here affects the theatre world. I want to interrogate this.

One final thing I will say on this note: interestingly, English language criticism doesn't seem to be often attempted in Berlin in any real way (Jana's brief stay last year a notable exception). There seems to be a lot of artists who come here and write about theatre, but mostly in quite a glorified way.

But, although I am a big fan of it, I am very critical of German theatre. I write at a time when the world is experiencing a stream of catastrophes, of which I am perhaps too well aware, and while German theatre and its core ideas - forum, engagement with politics, obsessions with logic and rationality, liberation from text, and director authority for example, position it well for an engagement with these ideas in an honest way, there are many instances where I see this is not happening. It is my duty, perhaps, to push it.

The following are the principles for this blog:
- Independance
- Scrutiny
- Simplicity: the focus will be on the quality of the writing and the argument
- Accountability
- Attribution
- Accuracy
- Where there is a conflict of interest, I will state it.

I hope it goes well for everyone.


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