Title

Follow the Money: A Study of Monetization and Compensation in Canadian Theatre Criticism

Submitter and Co-author information

Avery MacDonaldFollow

Standing

Undergraduate

Type of Proposal

Oral Research Presentation

Challenges Theme

Open Challenge

Your Location

Windsor, ON

Faculty

Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Michelle MacArthur

Abstract/Description of Original Work

Whether it be tweeting, posting on Instagram, or writing a blog post, theatre criticism — defined as the evaluation of a theatrical production by a knowledgeable industry professional — no longer simply exists in print. A concurrent reduction in arts coverage at many traditional media outlets has in turn cut jobs for theatre critics (Fricker, Poll, Radosacljevic). The SSHRC-funded project “Gender, Genre, and Power in the Theatre Blogosphere,” under the guidance of Dr. Michelle MacArthur, is studying the ways in which the blogosphere has changed the discourse surrounding Canadian theatre. In the most recent phase of the project, a national survey was conducted in order to understand the demographics of who is writing about theatre online, where, and why they are writing. This study found that many critics are compensated through complimentary tickets, while very few critics actually hold salaried positions at print publications or make a living through their writing. If anyone can ostensibly be a theatre critic, and if there is little financial compensation for writing theatre criticism, how can the field be sustained? With the emergence of the internet as the main venue for theatre criticism, will the field no longer be a viable profession?

Survey findings and case studies of the criticism websites of Intermission Magazine, Mooney on Theatre, and Vancouver critic Colin Thomas will be used in order to investigate how theatre criticism can continue to be a viable career in our constantly changing internet age. It will be hypothesized that public funding and new economic models are needed in order to sustain Canadian theatre criticism.

Works Cited

Fricker, Karen. “Blogging.” Contemporary Theatre Review, vol. 25, no. 1, 2015, pp. 39-45. Taylor and Francis Online.

Poll, Melissa. “Mapping the New Critical Terrain: Rules, Ethics, Hierarchies.” Canadian Theatre Review, no. 168, 2016, pp. 9-18.

Radosacljevic, Duska. Theatre Criticism: Changing Landscapes. Methuen Bloomsbury, 2016.

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Follow the Money: A Study of Monetization and Compensation in Canadian Theatre Criticism

Whether it be tweeting, posting on Instagram, or writing a blog post, theatre criticism — defined as the evaluation of a theatrical production by a knowledgeable industry professional — no longer simply exists in print. A concurrent reduction in arts coverage at many traditional media outlets has in turn cut jobs for theatre critics (Fricker, Poll, Radosacljevic). The SSHRC-funded project “Gender, Genre, and Power in the Theatre Blogosphere,” under the guidance of Dr. Michelle MacArthur, is studying the ways in which the blogosphere has changed the discourse surrounding Canadian theatre. In the most recent phase of the project, a national survey was conducted in order to understand the demographics of who is writing about theatre online, where, and why they are writing. This study found that many critics are compensated through complimentary tickets, while very few critics actually hold salaried positions at print publications or make a living through their writing. If anyone can ostensibly be a theatre critic, and if there is little financial compensation for writing theatre criticism, how can the field be sustained? With the emergence of the internet as the main venue for theatre criticism, will the field no longer be a viable profession?

Survey findings and case studies of the criticism websites of Intermission Magazine, Mooney on Theatre, and Vancouver critic Colin Thomas will be used in order to investigate how theatre criticism can continue to be a viable career in our constantly changing internet age. It will be hypothesized that public funding and new economic models are needed in order to sustain Canadian theatre criticism.

Works Cited

Fricker, Karen. “Blogging.” Contemporary Theatre Review, vol. 25, no. 1, 2015, pp. 39-45. Taylor and Francis Online.

Poll, Melissa. “Mapping the New Critical Terrain: Rules, Ethics, Hierarchies.” Canadian Theatre Review, no. 168, 2016, pp. 9-18.

Radosacljevic, Duska. Theatre Criticism: Changing Landscapes. Methuen Bloomsbury, 2016.