CRITIC WATCH: Are The STArs Out of Reach?

15/03/2010 at 11:07 pm 24 comments

I stumbled across this amusing post at Stage Noise, writ on the eve of 2010; defending the position of the Sydney Theatre Award Reviewers (aka STArs) from what was apparently a parting shot by the blog formerly known as Sydney Arts Journo. The original post is now hidden – but the reply is a delicious insight into the privileged echelon of Sydney’s critical community, one that’s been itching at the back of my mind ever since. It’s time to scratch.

In short, an independent blogger wanted to join the group, and implied the STArs were being parochial by not being more inclusive. The response from the indomitable Diana Simmonds (as paraphrased by 5W): We’ll invite who we want, thanks, and besides, we’re not parochial, we just welcomed someone new to our group. Your replacement at the Sun Herald, and the wife of another member!

One cannot help but smirk… although I can see her point in keeping close guard of the organisation’s integrity, especially as a founding member. But the premise of the awards and the select few who decide them is slightly whiffy, and worth further inhalation. Take this, from the STA website on how this shadowy organisation came about:

“…a group of senior Sydney critics, naming themselves The Sydney Reviewers and meeting by invitation only.”

Upon the heath, no doubt, as they determine the fates of Sydney’s aspirational artists. It begs the question: what qualifies “senior” in critical circles? Looking at the various STAr participants over the years, the requirement is to have written regular reviews for one of several newspapers. Which pretty much puts the decision of who determines the awards in the hands of the various editors. Which is unfortunate since the dailies appear to make theatre coverage a token gesture at best. Most “reviews” in the major newspapers serve up embarrassingly trite summaries of plot and any insight is reduced to analysing whether the acting is any good. While this may well be simply case of chronic poor-writing on the part of the respective critics, I’d wager that there is some editorial influence for such a malady to be so widespread.

Far be it for me to deny the assertion by Simmonds that the STArs are “beholden to no-one”; perish the thought. Any critic bases their entire credibility on the assumption that their views are independent and the experience of such esteemed writers as that of Stage Noise is beyond reproach. What I’m getting at is that by inviting only those who write for daily papers to participate gives an implicit bias as to what even gets in the running.

In fact, The Sydney Morning Herald is a major sponsor for the STC and Company B; similarly, both companies advertise in the SMH on a regular basis. So it’s fair to say that Fairfax has a significant stake in their success. As such their writers, however independent will be at an editor’s behest as to where their critical attention is spread. So one may be free from aesthetic bias, but when the bosses say: “write about that play, not this”, you’ll tend to go and see That Play, and not the other.

With this in mind, a glance across the categories and respective nominees gives pause for thought. First of all, “Best Mainstage Production” seems code for Belvoir or STC; in five years, almost all the plays nominated were from those companies. It makes sense given that there are only half a dozen professional companies operating in this city, but why not more from Griffin, or Bell, or Performance Space, who are equally as consistent in quality? For that matter, why do we even distinguish between mainstage and independent? Is theatre not theatre no matter who or where it’s coming from? I would like to think that a solid indie production could trump at least half the professional fare. In fact I know it can. What is meant by “mainstage” is actually “mainstream”; but perhaps that’s an issue for another day.

Independent theatre gets meagre coverage by the papers at best, and this is where the STArs become truly vexing. It’s one thing that more than half the nominees for that category are at B Sharp, that could simply be the will of Dionysus for a particularly blessed company to get all the truly great shows. But experience tells me that if you run an independent show just about anywhere else, you won’t even get a look in. In the past, I’ve had some critics tell me that they would have loved to see the show I’d invited them to, but the editor wouldn’t cover it. So they didn’t bother turning up. Despite the fact that it’s your job, I bet you don’t see half the productions on at any one time in this fair city. And yet here’s this elite group claiming some overarching mandate to declare “Best Independent Production” or “Best Newcomer”. I don’t mean to take away from the nominees for these awards; recognition IS important. But I know for fact that not every great independent show is considered. So it rings a little hollow for those of us in independent theatre who aren’t graced by the anointed ones’ presence at previews.

So either let more critics or theatrical peers in to vote; or fight your editors to cover more independent shows – that is if you want this fierce independent credibility to hold any water. You can’t claim “best anything” without actually seeing everything.

As for me? I take my cues from Groucho Marx: “I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member”

and Bill Nighy: “I used to think that prizes were demeaning and divisive, until I got one, and now they seem sort of meaningful and real.”

What do you think? Is it easy or hard to get a critic to turn up to an independent show? Does keeping a select few critics at the cultural gates improve theatre appreciation, or limit it?

Entry filed under: CRITIC WATCH, Sydney THEATRE. Tags: , , , .

ARTISTS ONLINE? The Paradox of Creative Identity BREAKING BARRIERS: New Audiences in the House

24 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Augusta Supple  |  29/04/2010 at 9:30 am

    Thank you for your post on this- I have only just read it (I’m a little behind at the moment with reading everyone- so apologies) It is something I have thought alot about too.
    The problem of reviews/ers in Sydney is the motivating factor behind why I review- and often I review the independent shows (and new Australian work). Because I am not paid to attend (or paid by the word as with many of the print press journalists) I am free to write as I see fit. I am truly independent.
    However, as a “blogger” , I have repeatedly faced negative public comment from the higher circles of the industry- only last night Tom Wright lamented the state of current print journalism and sneered at the online forums and bloggers as something that attempts “to pass itself off as commentary”. At the Philip Parson’s lecture last year Rachel Healy suggested that bloggers do more harm than good. There is a clear hatred of that which the PR and marketing departments of some organisations cannot control- that is online commentary.
    I am ok not to be affliated with a critics organisation, and regarded by the places I review shows at to be illegitimate- because frankly, I am not writing for them. I am writing for those who want a discussion- not those who reduce everything to awards and accolades. And anyway, I believe the highest award an artist can receive is to have an audience and to do good work. Everything else is gratuitous.

  • 2. anvildrops  |  29/04/2010 at 1:36 pm

    Hi Augusta, thanks for stopping by!

    I’m curious about that comment from Tom Wright. what was the context there? “pass itself off as commentary” indeed! should none of the audience now talk about the play at half time because they could never possibly understand?

    it’s quite shocking to hear such disdain for his audience, I mean, surely the people attending his wacked-out Residents experimental media mashups are allowed to have an opinion on his work, and who else does he think is writing these blogs? it’s your f***ing audience mate!

    anyway, Gus I did enjoy your response to Stockholm, and have been meaning to comment over your way. but every time I stop by to read it I get all whirlygigged and kind of lost for words.

    Theatre should provoke that kind of discussion. it doesn’t matter whether it’s any good, as each and every audience member can decide that for themselves, what matters is what it is.

  • 3. Augusta Supple  |  30/04/2010 at 6:09 pm

    The context of Wright’s comment was at James Waites’ Platform Paper launch on Wednesday night- I think he was giving praise to James’ work (as he should!) – by backhanding other bloggers and online commentary- claiming his is excellent in a landscape of low quality journalism. The gist of Wrights comments lead onto a very astute and tender realisation- once the show is gone, and the memories of the productions fade in the minds of those who saw it, all that is left are photos and reviews. And his sentiment is that arts commentary should be of a better standard. No contest there- he is right!
    But I don’t think the platform should be blamed. I think online comentary and reviews are absolutely a wonderful record of the ephemeral theatre experience- but what is wrong with blogs? They are serving discussion- but they are uneditted and uncontrollable in reciprocal media deals etc.
    I am a little sheepish about my response to Stockholm as what I write is personal. I have NEVER claimed to be a journalist- I don’t even think I am a reviewer- I write responses to the works I see… sometimes critical, sometimes contextual.
    I think there is a fear of the online platform- but really it should be embraced- it is not there to undermine but to promote the arts through discussion and debate.
    I just worry that no discussion will be had- and whether it is online or print- all of it is useful in moving art and theatre beyond where it currently grasps.

  • 4. anvildrops  |  30/04/2010 at 6:46 pm

    Oh, ok, well, that makes a bit more sense. But Wright is hardly about to start dissing the quality of comment at Fairfax though, is he? since they are a major sponsor for the company he works for!

    blogs are simply an extension of the post-show discussion that one would hope is happening at any theatre across the country on any given night. If he’d prefer those conversations didn’t happen then I suppose he’s got a point!

    Anyway, the personal nature of that particular response is what appealed to me. I wouldn’ worry about claiming any journalistic credibility. I’ve always said that artists are infinitely more qualified to discuss art, while journalists seem trapped by their editors to endless descriptions of plot, set and performance – with nary a mention of meaning… i can’t see how that qualifies as commentary beyond repeating what was just said!

  • 5. epistemysics  |  02/05/2010 at 6:31 pm

    I think one of the things that would frustrate a theatre company, even if they were enthusiastic about the ‘independent’ online reviews (ie, me, both of you, James, etc), is that they can’t USE them in any appreciable way. For example, if I gave a play a good score, it is very hard for them to put on their website, ‘9/10, Epistemysics’. There are two reasons for this, I think, though they may be two sides of the same coin:

    The print media still has most of the power when it comes to reviews, so ‘9/10, SMH’ is going to look much better on a website than ‘9/10, Epistemysics’. Secondly, I’m guessing that the majority of the audience doesn’t look at ‘independent’ online reviews. The only way they could quote an ‘independent’ review without looking like they’re scraping the bottom of the barrel for quotes is if the website is extremely popular and known to the audience. (Or, in some cases, if the owner of the website used to have a position of authority in the print media – theatre companies, for instance, will rarely quote ‘’, but rather ‘Diana Simmonds’.)

    So I think we’re at an interesting point in the online/print media spectrum, and I think the balance is tipping towards the online side, (a) because papers are reducing their coverage, (b) because the audience, though it may take awhile, is becoming more internet savvy (by virtue of the fact that one can assume that any young theatregoer is more likely to google for a review than pick up a paper (or at least more likely to do both) – the older audience isn’t as predisposed to do the same), and (c) … I’ve forgotten what (c) was. Damn.

    Obviously, being an online reviewer, I think blogs are a legitimate form of commentary, though I acknowledge that the quality on the internet varies wildly from genius to utter desolation. The internet has a strange habit of sorting the good from the bad, though. However, I recognise that blogs are seen by the majority at the moment as not particularly legitimate.

    I think there will be some sort of tipping point in the future, where blogs will be seen as legitimate. It’s either going to happen in ten or twenty years when the audience goes to the internet, or when the papers collapse (if they do). OR, if the theatre companies themselves make the blogs legitimate by beginning to use them for quotes, etc – continue quoting the blogs, and that increases the blog’s audience, which makes the quotes more potent, etc.

    So I suppose I would caution Mr. Wright to be careful with his words – because if and when the time comes that the online reviews take over, the various blogs that are around now stand probably the best chance of being considered to have the most authority (longevity often used as an indicator of quality). (That is, don’t insult us now when you may very likely have to use us in the future.) Saying that blogs attempt to ‘pass themselves off as commentary’ has quite the famous-last-words aura about it, don’t you think?

    My advice to us bloggers? Patience. They’ll come around eventually. I’ll stop rambling now. This comment is far too long.

  • 6. anvildrops  |  03/05/2010 at 6:43 pm

    I dunno EP – i think most people ascribe legitimacy to writing in any form according to the content. It’s a little unsettling to think that people get to positions of influence in major theatre companies by making blanket assumptions about the format of an author’s work before they have read it!

    You are right though: we are at a nexus in publishing. Personally I see the tipping point has already come, you only need look at “legitimate” theatre coverage such as at the Here they acknowledge and engage with the blogosphere regularly, while maintaining their own editorial line with reviews and comment. As a result it is a global discussion and an excellent resource.

    Especially with technology moving toward free (or very cheap) digital publishing being the norm: it’s content that will win out.

  • 7. James Waites  |  03/05/2010 at 7:07 pm

    I was begged to be a member of Sydney Theatre Awards reviewers a couple of years back, I said I didn’t like to belong to groups but they referred to my ‘gravitas’ , and my past history as a colourful racing identity etc – so I succumbed.

    Apart from Diana Simmonds who helped create group, I was the only blogger. At that point there was no rule about print media only – it was the simple – it’s our group and we will have in it who we want in it’. That apparently included me.

    I was also invited in also because my ideas were ‘welcome’. Fresh ideas ideally.

    This is not the place to go into the inner workings of the group. But I can say my ‘fresh ideas’ were not welcome. And after less than a year i was asked to a meeting in a coffee shop by two other member critics. I have no idea if any others in the group know of this meeting, approved of it in advance, or what they were later told took place: because i have never discussed it with any of them.

    I was asked by these two STArs about my mental well-being (I had not long been beaten up a train and yes i was somewhat traumatised and yes I was finding life difficult). How nice they cared for me. Perhaps, they suggested, I would like to take some ‘time out’ from the group. From a group that meets in a member’s lounge-room about four times a year – and which as no formal rules guiding its management or procedures. Not what you call one of my more stressful commitments.

    As it turned out this cafe encounter was also not very long after I had had an unattractive verbal encounter with a leading theatre company publicist. That is all water under the bridge and I have made my peace with the publicist an the company.

    But someone from that company had contacted one of these STArs, and reported my behavjour. I might say this was an ‘unofficial conversation’ because no one at the company for whom the publicist works clams to know who made the call – and in fact those in management agree that it was ‘inappropriate’.

    Anyway the matter of the row with the publicist was raised.

    I asked if my ‘scene’ with the publicist was thought to have tarnished the reputation of the critics group. The answer was a resounding (if whispered): Yes!

    So it was not my well-being, but my row with the publicist that had prompted the meeting. The good name of the Sydney Critics Cicle or whatever it is called had been dragged through the mud – by me. And clearly something had to be done about this. In a coffee shop.

    I was so stunned and humiliated and shocked at the inappropriateness of this meeting – and the self interest masquerading as camaraderie – that I burst into tears. Something I had only ever done in the previous ten years at the end of Brokeback Mountain.

    I was assured that I would be welcome to rejoin the group when I ‘felt better’. So far do not feel better. I feel better about being being beaten up on the train, But no I don’t feel better about that meeting in the coffee shop.

    Essentially I guess it is my call: when i am ready to return. But no one since has ever asked me if I might be ready yet.

    Meanwhile the rules have changed to disallow membership to bloggists. Apart from Diana Simmonds who is a print media journalist who just happens to use a website to distribute her views.

    There are some very nice members in the group, and shaping the guidelines, if any, for a theatre arts reviewing panel like this is inordinately difficult. But my main observation is this: that the official lack of structure allow for a cabal of two to psychologically dominate. Interestingly, neither works in the print media,

  • 8. anvildrops  |  03/05/2010 at 7:22 pm

    good lord! eat your heart out, underbelly…

  • 9. epistemysics  |  03/05/2010 at 8:05 pm

    I suppose what I meant to say about the legitimacy of blogs is that, at the moment, there’s a lot of ‘judging a blog by its cover’, rather than basing an opinion on the quality of the actual content. (That is, I’m 99% certain that we agree.)

    And yes, the Guardian is an interesting case – whether it remains as it is in the future isn’t so certain, though. I would think that if the print part of it collapsed, the website would too. But, assuming that the paper doesn’t collapse, then the ‘theatre blog’ seems like quite a good model.

    I’m suddenly reminded of Tot Mom – did you see the special site that the STC put up to encourage feedback to the play? It was filled to the brim with online reviews.

    And James – I think it’s perfectly understandable that the rules have changed to disallow membership to bloggists. There’s quite a few of us now, and that member’s loungeroom is only a finite size, after all!

  • 10. James Waites  |  03/05/2010 at 9:26 pm

    You’re right EP – the good think about onliners like us is we could have a our meetings in a cyber chat-room – but probably one that would get censored by the current government.

    The truth is print media (well theatre reviewing in the print media) is dead in the water and the arts conglomerates are as puzzled as to how to ‘control’ online content as is every other industry.

    Missed the Tot-Mom site – they also had very groovy poster adverts around McDonaldtown station (why?)

    I met the young dudes who created the campaign at the Darlo Bar on a Friday night. I walked in with four beautiful woman (just from a recent a play at Stables) and as an older gentleman not wearing the right clothes a few of the dudes including these advert guys wanted to know who the heck I was and what was the secret to my pulling power. I told em I was a bloggist – and that both men and women find this pheromonally irresistible.

    Advertising people will believe anything!

  • 11. Bruce  |  04/05/2010 at 9:53 am

    The point about the STArs is drifting away into the blogger v mainstream media debate. The model in Sydney is flawed and it’s clearly a clique. The Green Room model in Melbourne (a combination of industry and critics) is something they could learn a lot from.

  • 12. anvildrops  |  04/05/2010 at 10:40 am

    Hi Bruce, I agree, it’s flawed; but they have taken the initiative, irrespective of how undemocratic it appears to be – they have the right to protect their lounge room club. And what would you do to be a fly on the wall of the lounge room at their next little get together??

    However I think the drift in the discussion towards legitimacy of bloggers is a related topic, and I’m not worried which way the discussion goes, so long as it’s not abusive 🙂

    James, thanks for sharing that story here. it can’t have been easy! my quick response earlier was not intending to be flippant, but i was a little bit shocked and wanted a bit of time to think it over. There are a whole set of issues about publicity and reviews and independence in criticism which this seems to have taken the lid off. I had no idea this would be such a worm-farm!

    in any case, i think my intention was to question the absurdity of the ‘elite’ approach; and your anecdote has certainly put things in perspective. What are the alternatives? Start again with a democratic model a-la Green Room? or lobby for an expansion of the current group? it sounds as though the particular egos you refer to are incapable of shifting their exclusivity…

    actually i don’t really even care. my whole agenda is to get them to front up to a few more independent shows, that is if they want this credibility of their clique to hold any water.

    EP – yep, i get you. think we’re on the same page… I missed that Tot Mom site as well. what are the odds it was Soderbergh’s idea? he seems pretty switched on to modern media… and if people were using the site to write audience responses it shows we’re begging for a chance to participate in a public theatrical discussion. The form has moved on from one way traffic

    And yes, Mr Wright; making a comment on a blog (or anywhere) qualifies as ‘commentary’… just as rewriting or translating someone else’s work qualifies as ‘original’…

  • 13. James Waites  |  04/05/2010 at 11:46 am

    I have been waiting a long time to put that anecdote out there – and here and now seemed the right place. Having released that story, I would like to now add that there are many good things about the Sydney Theatre awards and most of its members, and we are better with them that without them.

    The biggest problem is that no one can see everything in Sydney nowadays, and those in print media are obviously directed to the shows which have taken out the biggest adverts first. The lack of coverage of small to Indie shows is the most serious problem that the STArs face.

    Let’s face it, some of it isn’t worth seeing much less writing about. But this waterfront must by necessity still be covered. Because of the random gems, and the need to offer generalised support for emerging artists living off crumbs.

    So it is no Critic Group member’s fault personally, though no real effort that I know of has gone into finding a smart idea around this problem – like letting in a few people who seriously cover this area of work in on the game. One of my ideas was the suggestion of specialist subgroups for specific awards – like sound – but it was quickly dismissed – without any meaningful discussion. The idea of opening up the club to potential weirdos was just too much.

    Mind you historically, this mind set is a reaction to the last version of a Sydney Critics group which was full of dodgy types and weirdos – and no mechanism to keep them out…so there is a subliminal fear underpinned by a certain historical logic behind the current situation.

    As for working conditions:

    I should add that the guy now at the Herald gets paid fair bit less than I did over ten years ago, He has almost no back up (to cover Indie shows), He is allocated fewer words – I used to often get half a page with a massive photo. I sell a show out in a day. And worst of all – his copy can be cut without his agreement or prior knowledge.

    That is a huge inhibitor to making risky comments because a wild line can suddenly appear devoid of supporting context – like —“after a long run of having written ten brilliant shows in ten years Australia’s most popular playwright” – cut all that – ,…”David Williamson produces a major flop.”

    Meanwhile onliners like myself, still have to go out and earn a living which makes it impossible to cover (even see) all the shows we would like to.

    There is a tension/rubbing here on the tectonic plates of two technologies and two eras – something will have to give. If it were not for the goodwill and camaraderie of the online theatre reviewing scene and its readers/contributors through follow-on comment-making I would be very tempted to pull up stumps myself.

    But for now I love witnessing this opening up of debate about Sydney theatre online – the art form desperately needs it. I would never have predicted that so many smart people in the generation coming in behind my lot would grow up to care so much about theatre as an art form. There are some very good people across a range of ages and experience pitching in. I think it’s great.

    • 14. anvildrops  |  04/05/2010 at 12:29 pm

      well said. as a ‘newcomer’ I’m short on context but long on passion. with that in mind I have no doubt there are 99 others out there who feel the same way but don’t vocalise; after all I have been hanging around the industry for over a decade but only started writing this blog a few months ago

      as fun as it is to pick on individuals I have made a conscious effort to use the ‘critic watch’ concept to examine the state of theatre criticism as a whole. and my complaints seem to be squarely shifting towards being about the editorial / managerial side of things; especially in the context of what you are referring to with word limits, allocated budgets etc.

      and the reality is that audiences want in-depth analysis and discussion (to be included as well) around art. But the papers hand out celebrity gossip and as for the website… well let’s just say fairfax is a bit of a lost cause for now. Any random check on the ‘National Times’ arts section reveals 50% non-arts related articles. Hells – the first article is still Cate’s speech at APAM from bloody February! and guess what? comments are now closed.


  • 15. James Waites  |  05/05/2010 at 10:07 am

    I think you are exploring a very valuable, indeed urgent topic, and theatre artists are afraid to enter into it for fear of being punished – that I understand.

    Some of it is about crappy individuals, but mostly its structural/technological/ideological/commercial etc stuff – and a lot of that is very hard to get one’s head around.

    All we know is that criticism has been replaced by marketing – and while that may help bring in dollars for the big outfits in the shorter term – it does nothing for the art form as it moves into the future.

    And it sure makes life tough for the little guys/gals no matter how good their work is.

    Let’s keep the ball rolling, i am happy to toss into the discussion what I can when I can


  • 17. epistemysics  |  05/05/2010 at 8:11 pm

    Hmm, not quite sure what went wrong with the link there – just think of it as a hyperlink for people with bad aim, I suppose.

  • 18. anvildrops  |  06/05/2010 at 1:33 pm

    i think the majority of overheads in print relate to the creation of the content and the costs involved in the writing, editorial, legal, creative and managerial elements – all that for one little 800 word article!

    Also if you add one page then you have to add three more, as the printing format has to be in multiples of four… and creating four pages of content a week on top of what you are already doing is tricky. Unless of course it’s just four pages of ads which is what you’ll find in the Spectrum in between the occasional article.

    The irony is that if they put it online, with an actual rolling discussion around local theatre issues, sure there would be costs involved in paying the staff to run it; but the conversational nature would keep people coming back (assuming the discussion was of an appropriate depth beyond the usual ‘was-it-any-good’ approach) – Bingo, put the STC/Belvoir banners next to the column and I would be willing to stake five year’s subscription that online ticket sales would increase by at least 15%

  • 19. tv sap mode  |  17/12/2011 at 6:05 pm

    Anytime I research a topic I have no clue what i could discover. I am so very happy to have found this extensive blogging since it properly details the concerns I have in mind and also the unmentioned issues that i would have looked for later.

  • 20. James Waites  |  18/12/2011 at 7:41 am

    Well well well. It is so odd to re-read this conversation among peers – and to discover that someone has ‘found’ it so many years later and finds it useful. It’s what I like about the blogosphere – most people think it’s about an immediate ‘hit’ when I have always seen its archival value.

    The comments from all participants in this conversations does each one proud – it is fun, mutually respectful and smart. And we are all still in the game. Well, I haven’t been doing much of late – but I have plans to start mucking in again soon.

    As for my own comments about being invited into the STArs and getting kicked out – I felt a deep sense of fear as I put those words out into the public domain that somehow I might well be punished further. I was not – probably because few from print-media-land or the STArs reads 5th Wall or any of us! But as I read over those comments – so many months later – I feel they read well and that it’s a balanced account (as least from where I was sitting in the coffee shop!).

    In the meanwhile I have found it very difficult to keep up with blogging (or onlining as I like to call it). And I have had this discussion with the great La Croggon in Melbourne. But I have just earned some money for the first time in a while and I intend use it – among other goals – to buy some time to write online – on my blog – on my website. See how I go…does my mind still work …have I got anything to say?

    Meanwhile anvildrops, Augusta, EP – how much good work you have done – separately and together. And we must thank Mr Nicholas Pickard for kick-starting that whole conversation – now a resident of Canberra and hopefully a future Federal Arts Minister!

    Love yous all and best for the season!

    Meanwhile tv sap mode thanks for dragging this little conversation back to the surface – I think it’s rather special. Do we get to see what you do with it?

  • 21. anvildrops  |  23/12/2011 at 12:36 pm

    I do think it’s interesting that some posts seem to have longevity while others simply fade away… 🙂

  • 22. anvildrops  |  15/06/2012 at 10:58 pm

    Reblogged this on 5TH WALL / … theatre arts writing & you and commented:

    some people have been reading this classic post from 2010… can’t imagine why!

  • 23. James Waites  |  16/06/2012 at 12:55 am

    I wonder who has dragged it up and dusted it off. I hope it’s not because I recently decided to ask the STArs if i could rejoin the group as they had suggested I might do ‘when I felt better’ at that horrible meeting over coffee where they made me cry and in the case of at least one other at the table I felt was more interested in serving their own interests than seriously concerned about mine.

    And they kept to their promise and welcomed me back. Not that I have yet been to a meeting. All in the group when I was a member are essentially good people doing their best their own way for the cause we all support – which is honouring good theatre-making in Sydney.

    Perhaps digging this up now is going to muddy the waters of my permission to rejoin – who knows. All I can say is that being beaten to a pulp up by four drunk teenage Tongans and leaving me with four court cases and unrelenting chronic back pain for three years since, is nothing in terms of the hurt dished out at that coffee table – and more so from their unnamed source- a now departed member of the Opera House publicity.

    I would never be so silly as to say I was not responsible for some of the grief – but if this goes any further I am quite happy to tell the full story now Richard Evans no longer runs the Opera House.

  • 24. anvildrops  |  16/06/2012 at 8:54 am

    i have faith in the capacity of people to rise above criticism, to accept it and not take it personally. that’s my philosophy, anyway. I hope others can take the same approach, but i accept not everyone is able…

    if the organisation is open to change with the times and accept we have a culture that goes beyond what’s immediately obvious, i welcome the Sydney theatre scene into the 1990’s…


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