Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

Letter to Keith

On Criticism & Critics

Twenty-five Years , Theatre Wales Reporting on Theatre of Wales , December 20, 2016
On Criticism & Critics by Twenty-five Years Dear Keith

“Start your own blog”.

The year was 2010, the place the National Theatre of Wales’ office in Cardiff, the occasion the company’s New Critics Programme and the speaker Britain’s most engaged and wide-exploring theatre writer.

In one respect Lyn Gardner had it right. There are no print journals on the search for aspirant writers on the arts. There are hardly any print journals standing. Those of Wales are dead men walking, too many of them, with circulations struggling to reach four figures.

But to start a personal blog is to join a billion others.

Brands matter and the best gift a writer can get is to have a brand to adhere to. Other members in an audience sometimes ask me who I am writing for. The answer, I say, could not be simpler.

It is “theatre” and “Wales”. I then add that it goes back twenty-five years.

Why a photographer in Aberystwyth should have been in the vanguard of creating a website, I also tend to say, I have no idea. It does not have an equivalent in Scotland. But then Scotland has critics and a press.

Hundreds of productions, theatre books and features have followed after my first tentative submission in March 2007, I can only express my gratitude again - as I have tended to do regularly each Christmas- for hosting a site with an established inbuilt readership.

Its simplicity- the lack of bells and whistles, lack of video capability- is no demerit. Art of worth deserves attention and there is no medium more subtle, complex, emotional and expressive than language.

Those who promote alternatives- the blurt and the bleep, hyperbole, semantic and grammatical inexactitude- do so out of genuine sincerity. But the makers of theatre deserve better than a commentary whose motivations are primarily those of modishness.

Thank you for the platform. May the next 25 years bring- well, whatever they may bring.

Reviewed by: Adam Somerset

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