New Books: Platform Paper 61: Criticism, performance and the need for conversation

Written by: Currency Press Media Release
Alison Croggon writes about how arts performance criticism has collapsed in Australia. She examines how “…with our shrinking print media (performance arts criticism) been overrun by the free market of digital public opinion. As Australia’s first theatre blogger with her influential Theatre Notes founded in 2004, Croggon welcomed digital opportunities to engage artists, new critics and audiences. ‘The demise of the old institutional criticism was a loss of power and received wisdom in the media culture, but bloggers introduced new people and conversations just when many performing arts companies were reinventing themselves.’ ‘But the potential reach and income of individual bloggers was then squeezed by the rise of global giants such as Google, Facebook and Amazon with their increasingly powerful domination of digital discoverability,’ says Alison, who closed her blog in 2012. Croggon, a former theatre critic for The Australian and The Bulletin, also explores the sustainability and impact of more recent arts-focused websites around Australia, many of which now struggle to build an income from readers and maintain a strong critical voice. ‘In the current climate, the only public critique that flourishes is the atomised product driven consumer review, which is more often a function of public relations than of serious intellectual enterprise,’ she says. ‘What’s frustrating is that everyone agrees that it’s important to have a healthy diverse culture, and how essential these remaining arts pages and websites are to our local culture. But if no one pays for this critical service, it simply won’t exist.’ ‘An entire body of arts journalism, let alone arts criticism, is increasingly absent from our national discussion.’”

Released in November 2019 and available for sale at