Friday, May 18, 2012

How could technology change theatre criticism for good?

The Theater Blog over at The Guardian in the UK asks the question:  How could technology change theatre criticism for good?

Discussions about the future of theatre criticism seem to be evergreen. It is a debate that continues to impassion bloggers, and one that arose again at the latest instalment of Devoted and Disgruntled back in February, in a session challenging the barrier traditionally erected between theatremakers and critics. One linked but relatively neglected aspect of the conversation, however, is how criticism might fully explore and exploit the growing possibilities allowed by digital developments.

When it comes to digital, I think we're all still fumbling around in the dark. In the world of theatre comment, this has manifested itself in recurring, sometimes ugly debates between mainstream critics and the blogging community. But what if the technology at our disposal offers more than occasion for conflict? While words alone can create a rich tapestry of critical response, imagine how much richer this might be with the addition of images, video, audio, geotagging, experimental forms such as Pinterest – the list goes on. Despite having such options at their fingertips, the majority of those writing theatre criticism for the web remain trapped in the conventional print review format: a block of text that often tries to avoid spoilers. Myriad possibilities are there, but it seems we're slow to adopt them.

This is not to dismiss all theatre writers as luddites. Some bloggers and critics are embracing the possibilities of digital criticism and experiments are beginning to take shape. Twitter, for instance, has opened up instant discussion, allowing theatregoers to share their thoughts from the moment they step out of the auditorium. Luke Murphy has taken the trend to another level by aggregating such reviews on one feed – an intriguing idea, but one arguably limited by the tweet's inherent brevity.

Follow the link HERE or at the top to read more.


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