Matt Trueman wrote an article in The Stage about the supposed decline in theatre blogging. I’ve sort of jumped randomly into the subsequent debate at various points, although I often feel as someone who is both occasional theatre blogger and full time Marketing and Press Officer I sit uncomfortably within these kind of debates.
There are changes in the theatre blogging scene, for sure – people find new things to do, move on, get jobs, etc. The faces and the styles change and the platforms change, too – a tweet storm is as valid as a blog post, an instagram is as valid as a blogpost, I bet people do actually snapchat reviews. It’s not happening in the same way. Plus, Matt’s arguably the establishment now, and so he runs in different circles and reads different things – Meg Vaughan, possibly the patron saint of sweary theatre bloggers, sums this up in her response article.
Eve Allin also wrote a response, and it is great. I’ve felt in the past like I just couldn’t break into blogging – there was ages (AGES) where no one read anything I wrote, and even now negative stuff gets loads higher stats that pure praise, which I sometimes find dispiriting. But, I owe a shoutout to some people who did retweet and share stuff I wrote, because it meant I kept going.
I don’t think Matt’s article is meant to be negative; he’s inviting people to share blogs with him (even if the tone of it slightly betrays that). It’s worth analysing and dissecting why there is a perceived decline in theatre blogging – and I think there are so many reasons for it (conflict between being in the industry and commenting on it, the structures of theatre and everything in general, the finite amount of time we each have on this planet etc etc), but the thing that has struck me about this all, which is really highlighted in Eve’s piece, is that maybe we’re just generally absolute shit at reaching out and inviting new bloggers to join the debates?
And, look, I’m not the establishment, I’m still new really, and my lack of ambition to turn this into any kind of career (seriously imagine having to review like 4 pantos) means I am unlikely ever to be (nor want to be), but somehow people sometimes read my stuff here and on twitter and I like that, because I like blogging and theatre and sticking it to the patriarchy. So, in praise of Eve, in praise of so many more, and in response to the idea that blogs are declining in theatre, here’s some posts from a range of bloggers I’ve loved in the last year or so:
- James Varney’s storming, scathing review of A Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer
- Debbie at Mind The Blog writing about Sunny Afternoon‘s final show in the West End (it’s also worth looking at everything she has written about it over the last two years – a proper document of a show changing and evolving during its run)
- Emily Rose Jenkins video blog on September, featuring theatre, illustrations and How to Get Through Year 11 (pointed out by Laura Kressly, in Meg’s article above)
- Fringefan.info, an obsessive ranking of a few hundred shows at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe
- Kate Wyver being absolutely beautiful on Rosanna Cade’s Walking:Holding
- Verity Healey’s thoughts on love in Cleansed at the National Theatre
- Eve Allin’s write up of both Two Man Show and Our Ladies of Perpetual Succuor
- Flossie Waite’s review of Horrible Histories on Children’s Theatre Reviews, taking into account the show itself and analysing how it feels to know theatre is being used to exploit parents into having to buy shit
- Edwina McEachran’s review of Summer. Autumn. Winter. Spring.
- Eve Nicol’s #MiiView of X
- X Review on James Debate’s Blog (because sometimes you need to read the exact opposite of what you think)
- Laura Kressly on POST at Ovalhouse, talking about being an immigrant in the world now
- All of Beth’s illustrated responses ever – a Fringe set found here
- Lee Anderson on Shit Theatre’s Letters to Windsor House
- Special bonus: Meg Vaughan on The Suicide, because the title of the post is on point.
If you have anything you think should be added here, tweet me @rcurtis0914