Articles tagged with: theatre criticism

  • Announcing DART 3P94: Theatre Criticism, an Online Intensive beginning June 2

    DART 3P94: Theatre Criticism
    Online intensive, June 2-12, 2020

    DART 3P94: Theatre Criticism is a new course that introduces students to the practical craft of and the theoretical background to theatre criticism. The activity of the course is divided between seeing productions and writing reviews of them; workshopping these reviews with the instructor and classmates; editing the reviews towards assessed submission, and eventual possible publication on a dedicated course blogsite; reading and discussing relevant academic and journalistic articles about criticism; and learning about alternative, digital, performative, and visual forms of criticism.

    download the poster

    The instruction of this summertime intensive will be online, conducted using a combination of video conferencing, online chatrooms, animated Powerpoint lectures, and related formats. There will be designated course times during which students will be required to be virtually present; other activities during the two-week course will include reading/class preparation; writing and editing reviews and other forms of written response to theatre; creating digital critical responses using social media and other online platforms; participating in digital forums; and developing a summative criticism project. A final research paper about criticism will be due at the end of June.

    Students will be required to see a minimum of four theatre productions as part of the course. If live theatre is being performed in June, students will have the option of going to see live performances, and will undertake these theatre visits themselves – there will be no organized course field trips, though the instructor will offer advice about acquiring affordable tickets, and students may wish to organize carpools together. There is also the option to watch theatre performances that have been captured on video; these will be made available to students online. It may be that a combination of live and recorded viewing is possible, or all the performances may be viewed online.

    This is an intensive course experience and prospective students are advised to be prepared to engage with it full-time during the two weeks of the course.

    Prerequisite(s) are DART 2P96 and 2Q92 (2F94) or permission of the department. Interested students are invited to write to the instructor, Prof. Karen Fricker (kfricker@brocku.ca), as she is willing to consider relevant course experiences from other programs than DART.

    Please register before May 1, 2020.

    Karen Fricker is an associate professor in Dramatic Arts at Brock, a theatre critic at the Toronto Star, and vice-president of the Canadian Theatre Critics Association.

    A PDF version of this page is available for download.

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    Categories: Announcements, Current Students, Faculty & Instructors, Future students, In the Media, Media Releases, News, Uncategorised

  • Brock prof lands gig as Toronto Star theatre critic

    (Source: The Brock News, Thursday, March 3, 2016 | by )

    Professor Karen Fricker has spent the last three years training Brock University students to critique theatre.

    She will soon be practising what she teaches after landing the role of theatre critic for the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest, most-read newspaper.

    The Brock University Dramatic Arts assistant professor isn’t new to the theatre beat – her resume includes 25 years of experience for outlets including The Guardian and Variety. She was also the founding editor-in-chief of Irish Theatre Magazine, a publication that operated from 1998-2014.

    At the Star, Fricker will be reviewing major show openings in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Areas as well as writing feature articles.

    “It just feels like an un-dreamed-of privilege to get to have a platform like this at this point in my career,” she says. “Toronto is a really exciting and mature theatre market.”

    The theatre scene in the GTHA is rich with plenty of interesting things happening – from major musicals to performance art to original Canadian plays in storefront theatres.

    Fricker can’t wait to see them all and share her observations and critiques with Canadians.

    And, she’s looking forward to sharing her excitement with students, whose critiques are published  on Brock’s DARTcritics.com blog. She started the blog in 2013 to offer students an avenue to be published and edited.

    She plans to make sure her students benefit from the work she’s doing for the Star.

    “Students will gain a strong sense of connection and understanding of how professional arts criticism works,” she says.
    “They will have the opportunity to see their professor go through the same exercises they do and maybe even give her some feedback.”

    Fricker says she’s grateful to be working at Brock both because it’s an exciting time in the arts with the opening of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts and because it’s a university that encourages professors to pursue their creative interests.

    “Being a creator, being an artist, has equal standing to being a scholar and producing peer-reviewed research,” she says.

    Fricker says the Star opportunity fits her creative and research interests of questioning arts criticism in the digital age.

    “I consider this a part of my research,” she says. “It’s a time of extraordinary possibility and growth for criticism.”

    DARTcritics.com is a response to that research interest and the question of how to turn an earnest blog into trusted criticism. The site has grown from a space for outstanding reviews by third-year students as part of their coursework to include reviews and features by students and recent graduates who are paid for their work. Fricker hopes that the site will continue to blossom into a year-round source of quality arts criticism in Niagara.

    Fricker’s role with the Star was announced Thursday. She’s looking forward to reviewing her first production for the paper this month.

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    Categories: Faculty & Instructors, In the Media, News

  • Class blog takes centre stage with theatre criticism

    (Source: The Brock NewsFriday, July 3, 2015 | by . Photo: DARTcritics started as a class blog but has grown to fill the void of local arts criticism.)

    They call themselves critics with class.

    But more than being clever, the student writers behind the DARTcritics website are providing theatrephiles with thoughtful arts criticism about performances in Niagara and beyond.

    That wasn’t always its purpose, however. The two-year-old theatre review website, which was recently relaunched with a new look, started as a forum for Dramatic Arts Prof. Karen Fricker to post standout assignments by students in her theatre criticism class. But it soon became apparent the site served a larger purpose.

    DARTcritics picked up where slashed and shrunken newsrooms left off with their arts coverage. Other than a handful of metro and national dailies, few newsrooms boast a dedicated arts and entertainment reporter anymore, leaving a void to be filled.

    “What we discovered was that in some instances, the reviews that we published were among the only, if not the only, review response that productions would receive, because there is so little arts criticism in Niagara,” Fricker said. “This was a startling and empowering realization for the students — that they were in dialogue with art and artists in a privileged way.”

    Of course, seeing their names in print was nothing short of thrilling, too. Hayley Malouin was hooked the moment she got her first byline for her review of London Road, a musical about an English town coping with the murders of five of its women.

    “I thought ‘OK, we’ll see some shows,’” said Malouin, who signed up for Fricker’s class in her third year. “I wrote the first review and got it up on the blog and was ‘This is like crack.’”

    Being published was an incentive, but writing reviews for posting was ultimately a way for Malouin to use what she had learned from Fricker about articulating her opinions of a production beyond saying whether or not she like it.

    “I hated (London Road) and finding out why I hated it was so fun,” she explained. “It really changed my view of what happens in theatre. There’s this critical side to it – this analytical side to it…. I think you can be analytical and creative and that’s a really special thing.”

    Fricker, a former critic with The Guardian in the U.K., capitalized on the opportunity to turn DARTCritics into a bona fide source of arts criticism last April when Malouin and fellow student Nick Leno landed funding from BUSU to cover St. Catharines’ In the Soil Arts Festival.

    She also coached the duo to be editors and social media curators. This summer, they’re running the site like a newsroom with two staff writers, fourth-year DART students Elizabeth Amos and Alex Jackson. Together, they cover theatre in Hamilton, Niagara, Toronto and Stratford, thanks to support from the Match of Minds program run by the Office of Research Services and BUSU.

    The relaunch of the DARTcritics site coincides with this summer’s move of Dramatic Arts to the new home of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in downtown St. Catharines, Fricker noted.

    “It’s such an exciting moment for the arts at Brock and in St. Catharines more broadly, with the new First Ontario Performing Arts Centre opening in the autumn, as well as our own building,” she said. “This seemed the perfect occasion for us to take DARTcritics to a new level with a new look, and more reviews.”

    Fricker will resume the editor’s post when classes resume in the fall, but for summer, the site is “Nick and Hayley’s baby.”

    “It’s a great experience of entrepreneurialism and leadership for them.”

    It has also carved out a potential career path for Malouin. Theatre criticism has become something she would like to pursue further, either as a freelance writer or by developing her own theatre review site.

    Still, there has been one downside to being a DARTcritic: it’s tough to shut off and watch a show for pleasure.

    “I see theatre and can’t not be critical now,” Malouin said. “People see that as a negative but it’s not. I’m always on now when I see a show. I do wish I could go see a Mirvish show and say ‘That’s great!’”

    Visit DARTcritics

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    Categories: Alumni, Current Students, Faculty & Instructors, In the Media, News

  • Brock community event looks at theatre criticism in the digital age

    (Source: The Brock News, Monday, February 10, 2014)

    An upcoming series of community discussions at Brock University later this month will debate the question: is everyone a critic?

    Media professionals, theatre experts, scholars and students will assemble in Sankey Chamber at Brock Feb. 21 and Feb. 22 to take part in the colloquium, The Changing Face of Theatre Criticism in the Digital Age, hosted by the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

    “The rise of blogging and Twitter, combined with the decline of print journalism, is raising important questions about what counts as legitimate, professional criticism,” says Karen Fricker, event co-ordinator and a professor of dramatic arts. “Our discussions will focus on the current critical scene in Niagara, as well as imagining possible futures for the arts in our community.”

    Panel members include two of Toronto’s most influential theatre critics: J. Kelly Nestruck of The Globe and Mail and Richard Ouzounian of the Toronto Star. Others include local figures like Jackie Maxwell, artistic director of the Shaw Festival, and Steve Solski, director of the St. Catharines Centre for the Performing Arts.

    The colloquium will also feature international critics: Jill Dolan, Princeton University professor and noted theatre blogger (thefeministspectator.com); Maddy Costa, a London, England blogger and journalist; and Andy Horwitz, founder of New York arts blog culturebot.net

    Dolan is visiting Brock as part of the Walker Cultural Leaders series. While here, she will deliver a public lecture, “Moving the Body Politic: How Feminism and Theatre Inspire Social Re-imaginings.” Her lecture, co-sponsored by the Department of Dramatic Arts and Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies at Brock, takes place Friday, Feb. 21, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, also in Sankey Chamber.

    All of these events are free and open to the public.

    Funding for these events is provided by the Walker Cultural Leaders Series, the Brock Humanities Research Institute and the SSHRC Institutional Grant scheme, and the St. Catharines Performing Arts Centre.

    All events will be live-streamed.  [Click on “live video”]

    SCHEDULE: The Changing Face of Theatre Criticism in the Digital Age

    All events take place in Sankey Chamber at Brock University

    FRIDAY, FEB. 21:

    * 2 – 2:30 p.m.: Welcome
    Presentation by Brock dramatic arts students from the third-year class, Studies in Praxis – Theatre Criticism

    * 2:30 – 4 p.m.: Panel discussion “Critics and the arts in Niagara”

    • Jill Dolan (respondent)
    • Monica Dufault, artistic director, Essential Collective Theatre
    • David Fancy, associate professor of Dramatic Arts, Brock University, co-artistic director, neXt Company Theatre (chair)
    • John Law, arts and entertainment writer, Sun Media
    • Sara Palmieri, co-founder, In the Soil Festival
    • Stephen Remus, minister of energy, minds, and resources, Niagara Arts Centre
    • Steve Solski, director, St. Catharines Centre for the Performing Arts
    • Candice Turner-Smith, managing director, Niagara Symphony Orchestra

    * 4:15 – 5:45 p.m.: Panel discussion “Embedded criticism: a new way forward, or criticism-as-PR?”

    • Maddy Costa, critic and blogger
    • Karen Fricker
    • Andy Horwitz, founder, culturebot.org
    • Jackie Maxwell, artistic director, Shaw Festival
    • Jacob Gallagher-Ross, assistant professor of theatre, University of Buffalo (respondent)
    • Lawrence Switzky, assistant professor of Drama, University of Toronto at Mississauga (chair)

    SATURDAY, FEB. 22:

    * 10 – 10:30 a.m.: Welcome
    Presentation by Brock dramatic arts students from the third-year class, Studies in Praxis – Theatre Criticism

    * 10:30 a.m. – 12 noon: Panel discussion “Bloggers, critics, and cultural legitimation”

    • Jill Dolan
    • Karen Fricker (chair)
    • Andy Horwitz (respondent)
    • J. Kelly Nestruck, lead theatre critic, The Globe and Mail
    • Richard Ouzounian, lead theatre critic, Toronto Star
    • Holger Syme, chair, Department of English and Drama, University of Toronto at Mississauga, and blogger (disposito.net)
    • Odette Yazbeck, director of public relations, Shaw Festival

    * 12:15 – 1 p.m.: Colloquium wrap-up

    • Maddy Costa; Jill Dolan; Karen Fricker (chair); Rosemary Drage Hale, director of the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Brock University; and Andy Horwitz

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    Categories: Announcements, Events, In the Media, News