16 Jan

Writing that evaluates theatre doesn’t especially interest me.

I don’t want consumer advice.

Audience members are not consumers. They’re co-producers.

Sure, there’s a place for evaluative writing – the recycling.

No, seriously, the place is on marketing collateral. Artists don’t want to be judged, but they’ll endure it – for the chance to convince potential audience members to co-produce. Who’s going to knock back a “Recommended”?

Reviews are our revenge on theatre. (And not just when we hate it. After all, 5 STARs is rather parsimonious, considering how many stars there actually are.)

In answer to the beautiful multiplicity of theatre, reviews offer a stern monotone. Which is why no-one takes them too seriously. Which is why I don’t write them.

They’re are a bit like trying to catch starlight in a jar.

We need to find ways to respond to art other than mere evaluation.

So what do I want from writing about theatre?


To speak truthfully is one of the lessons of childhood. But maturity has a different lesson: to listen truthfully.

To listen truthfully is to hear a voice other than your own and ask ‘In what way is this true?”

Not “Is this true?”

It is true.

But in what way?

Just as actors and writers are called to truthfulness, so are audiences.

Theatre writing that focuses solely on evaluation conceals this.

Creation is a wondrous act.

Appreciation is even more so.

Veronica Kaye

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