ArtsJournal: Arts, Culture, Ideas


The Royal Shakespeare Company At 60

"In 1960 Peter Hall created a theatrical revolution. He turned a summer Shakespeare festival in Stratford-on-Avon into a year-round enterprise based on a permanent ensemble, a second home in London and a mix of classical and contemporary work. But it wasn't until 20 March 1961 that the whole enterprise was given the name we know today. … Sixty years on, even as we celebrate the RSC's survival, new questions arise. What is it really for? How does it adapt to a changing world? Do we still believe in large theatrical institutions?" - The Guardian

Has COVID Changed Standup Comedy For Good?

If so, it's got nothing to do with illness or quarantine as subject matter; it's that the lockdown pushed everyone — audiences, colleagues, and (crucially) gatekeepers such as casting agents and bookers — online, where barriers to entry are low and the democratizing effect has been sizable. - The Guardian

Yet Another Director Forced To Resign From Berlin’s Volksbühne

Three years after Chris Dercon ended his brief, dissension-plagued tenure at the theatre, his successor as artistic director, Klaus Dörr, quit after it became public that 10 women at the Volksbühne had made formal complaints to the Berlin city government about Dörr's alleged sexual harassment of younger actresses and humiliation of older ones. - The New York Times

Theatre Leaders In Five Countries Talk About How Their Companies Have Coped With The Pandemic

Ivo van Hove at the Internationaal Theater Amsterdam, Stéphane Braunschweig at the Odéon in Paris, Thomas Ostermeier at the Schaubühne in Berlin, Kajsa Giertz at the Helsingborg (Sweden) City Theatre, and Saheem Ali and Shanta Thake at the Public Theater in New York talk about government support, programming while their buildings are closed, and reopening plans. - The Observer (UK)

Study: One Quarter Of UK Theatre Freelancers Have Quit

Theatres have collectively reported losses of nearly £200 million following a year of closure, according to a survey which also reveals that a quarter of freelancers have gone out of business or ceased trading because of the pandemic. - The Stage

‘Little Did I Know’: A Theater Critic Considers The Anniversary Of The COVID Shutdown

Helen Shaw: "The pandemic has been a period of getting a lot of 'little did I know' stuff out into the open, including (but hardly limited to) the troubling ethics of the industry and the intense vulnerability of those who make a living in it. … I celebrate that our theaters closed, because it's one of the few ways we've protected our people, by acknowledging that they were not essential. Theater is vital, beautiful, useful, inevitable. Won't those words do as well?" - Vulture

We’re Longing For The Communion That Only Theatre Can Provide

We mourn together for our lost months and years. "Every day the theatre is dark, an opportunity for transformation is lost—yes, for the performers, remaking themselves so completely that, on the best of days, they lack any tether to the real world. But just as importantly, for the audiences who find that bearing witness to those performances, has remade them just the same." - American Theatre

A Broadway Pop-Up Concert Slash Rally Briefly Invigorates New York

With Chita Rivera, André De Shields, and an array of singers and dancers, the pop-up on the anniversary of Broadway's shutdown gave paying work to performers who haven't seen much of it in a year. And it was hopeful: "Although they aren’t likely to perform inside theaters again until after Labor Day, the message of the show was that the end of the industry’s nightmare seemed to be getting closer." - The New York Times

Live Theatre Finally Gets Its Own Guidelines In Los Angeles

The guidelines are stringent - each county must cycle completely out of "colors" of COVID-19 infections before indoor theatre can open, and they have to cycle way lower rates before outdoor theatre can open at a low capacity, with reservations and assigned seating, and only with people from within 120 miles of the theatre. It's weirdly different from movie theatres, but: "Any progress — any change that allows arts groups to rebuild a sense of community — is critically important." - Los Angeles Times

Theatre In America After A Year Of The Pandemic

Rob Weinert-Kendt: "So what happened — what changed — in this past 12 months, and how will this lost, frantic year be remembered? I asked dozens of theatre workers from all over the U.S. to answer those questions. Their responses are a panorama of grief, gratitude, frustration, affirmation, resolutions and questions." - American Theatre

UK Theatre’s Darkest Year

Ridiculous as it might seem now, eight to 10 weeks was initially discussed as a likely closure period. The more pessimistic were talking about the summer of 2020. - The Stage

Hindu Supremacists Force Shutdown Of Indian Theatre Festival

"The annual theatre festival organised by the Indian People's Theatre Association in the small town of Chhatarpur became the object of abuse and violent threats by Bajrang Dal, a hardline Hindu group linked with the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party (BJP). The festival has been running since 2015, with theatre groups from across India taking part in plays and workshops over five days. However, this year Bajrang Dal began a campaign, accusing the organisers of programming 'anti-national' and 'anti-Hindu' plays, despite only knowing the titles." - The Guardian

Touring Broadway Shows Are Gearing Up To Restart In The Fall

"Subscription packages for some of Broadway's biggest hits are being sold at a handful of the nation's performing arts centers, while a host of others have booked dates and plan to subscriptions later this spring. Although performances are almost six months away and could change, … the return of Broadway road shows is critical to the financial recovery of regional arts centers." - The Washington Post

The Constant Crises Of British Theatre

The UK’s theatrical culture is obsessed with the idea of theatre as storytelling, both as a discourse and as a conditioning of what the work is and should be like. This is extremely rigid: theatre is not storytelling but an experience. In London almost every season announcement sounds the same, everyone seems to be saying, “We are telling new and important stories.” - Howlround

Hollywood Stars, The Theater Needs Your Help!

"In one of the more surprising revelations of the shutdown, it turns out that the American theater has no towering figure even attempting to lead it through this crisis, the way Andrew Lloyd Webber has in Britain. … In such a scarily perplexing time, there is no one to rally the troops, let alone do what I'm hoping you will: Make the theater's case to the culture at large. You, with your incandescent charm, would be brilliant at that. Even though, in some ways, it's a very tough sell." - The New York Times

Our Free Newsletter

Join our 30,000 subscribers


Don't Miss