9:30 AM09:30

Symposium 'On Criticism' - Platform Journal

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Symposium: 'On Criticism'

Friday 23 November 2018
Royal Central School of Drama and Speech, University of London

Hosted by Royal Holloway's Platform Journal

The cry of criticism in crisis has recently gained a new momentum. In the early 2000s, writers like Noël Caroll, Rónán McDonald, and James Elkins attempted to capture the climate of literary criticism. In his book What Happened to Art Criticism (2003) the critic and art historian Elkins wrote about the tension that operates between a mode of descriptive reviewing, on the one hand, and of critical evaluation on the other. He claimed that 'descriptive criticism begs the question of what criticism is by making it appear that there is no question' (p. 42). He made this statement before the mushrooming of online publishing began to democratise the field of art criticism, while simultaneously expanding it due to the increasing numbers of art writing finding a way to being (self)published.

Yet, these developments might only have increased the tension between these modes of criticism (for example, see Duška Radosavljević's edited volume Theatre Criticism: Changing Landscapes, 2016). Simultaneously, Gavin Butt's 2004 edited volume After Criticism: New Responses to Art and Performance (2004), which demonstrates a more performative approach to criticism, as well as the June 2018 issue of the bilingual journal Texte zurKunst (germ./eng.), are two of the most prominent attempts in the recent period to evaluate, critique, and bring art and performance criticism closer together.

At a time when performance (art) increasingly operates inside and outside of the economies and theories of theatres and art galleries, the question of how to critique performance becomes pressing. Drawing on Butt's, Radosavljević's, and Texte zur Kunst's invitations and cautions, the symposium aims to evaluate how theatre, art, and dance criticism can join forces to e/affectively critique live performances in the age of digital network publishing. The symposium, as well as the spring issue of Platform Vol. 13 No. 1, pose questions about the expectations, possibilities, and challenges that writers on theatre, dance, performance art, and art in general face today. What do academics, critics, and reviewers pay attention to when they write? With whom do they collaborate? Whom are they addressing in their writing? To what extent is their critical work financially
remunerated? How does their writing achieve a balance between providing details of artistic productions and their socio-political, economic, historical, and theoretical contextualisation? And should they (rather not) make it crystal clear whether they like a performance?

Come and join us for an exciting day of panels, performances, presentations, and discussions!

Symposium Schedule:

09:30 - 09:45 Registration

09:45 - 10:00 Opening Remarks

10:00 - 11:30 Panel 1 & Panel 2

Panel 1 - Class, Criticism, and Accountability
Zofia Cielatkowska (Independent Scholar): Who Can Afford To Be An Art Critic? 
Aimee Oh (Independent Scholar): Barthes on the End of Bourgeois Writing: Écriture Blanche, Robbe-Grillet, and Narrative Point of View
Charlotte Young (Queen Mary University): ‘If You Build It, They Will Come’: Renzo Martens and the Institute for Human Activities


Panel 2 - Criticism and Institutional Tragedy
Tom Sojer (Karl-Franzens-University of Graz/Erfurt): Saving Democracy: Simone Weil's Theatre Criticism
Alessandro Simari (Queen Mary University): The Italian Theatre is Dead, Long Live the Italian Theatre
Christian Hartwig Steinau (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München): The Case of the Münchner Kammerspiele

11:30 - 12:00 Coffee Break

11:45 - 12:00 Critical Intervention from Megan Vaughan (Royal Holloway)

12:00 - 13:30 Panel 3 & Panel 4

Panel 3 - Care and Vulnerability in Criticism
Michal Norton (Independent Scholar): The Vulnerable Critic: Exploring New Structures of Criticism and Selection in the Arts
Harriet Plewis (Northumbria University): Reparative Criticism
Corrie Tan (National University of Singapore/King's College London): Embedding/Dwelling: Writing Intimately about the Labour of Performance


Panel 4 - Bodily Virtuosity and Critical Expertise 
Katharine Kavanagh (Cardiff University): The Opportunity in the Abyss: Growing a Critical Culture of Circus
Julia Delaney and Rosie Gerhard (Royal Academy of Dance): Capturing the Sylph: How Dance Critics Bring Ballerinas to Life in their Writing
Josephine Leask (Royal Central School of Speech and Drama): Messing with Convention: Surrendering Authority and Feminist Dilemmas in My Dance Review

13:30 - 14:30 Lunch

14:30 - 15:30 Keynote by Prof Sabeth Buchmann: 
Feedback as the Inside of the Outside of Critique or: Performance in the Evaluation Society

15:30- 16.00: Response from Dr Duška Radosavljević and Questions

16:00 - 16:15 Coffee Break

16:15 - 17.45 Panel 5 - Critical Currents
Hannah Greenstreet (Oxford University): Performing Feminist Theatre Criticism: RashDash’s Three Sisters: After Chekhov
Andrea Liu (Goldsmiths University): Performing the Feed: Durational Performativity and the Live Feed
Heidi Liedke (Queen Mary University): Quasi-Experts and the Paradocumentational Brim in the Context of Live Theatre Broadcasting

17.45 - 18.00 Break

18:00 - 19:15 Round Table with Hetain Patel and Sanjoy Roy and Dr Diana Damian Martin (please book separately:

Followed by a Wine Reception

Platform is a Royal Holloway-based refereed journal that has been devoted to publishing the work of postgraduates, postdoctoral researchers, and entry-level academics in the fields of theatre and the performing arts for more than a decade. Platform, as the name suggests, works to provide a space for postgraduate researchers and entry-level academics to have their work circulated through online publication. The journal comes out of Royal Holloway. It operates a peer and academic review system to ensure that contributors not only have the opportunity to publicise their research, but also receive valuable feedback. Platform is published twice a year, with each edition following a broad theme, making it possible for diverse research interests to be covered in each volume.

(This event is sold out, but you can join the waitlist here.)

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to Sep 22

The Golden Record 2.0

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Part of the NUS Arts Festival 2018
Performed by NUS Stage and presented by NUS Centre for the Arts
director: Edith Podesta
interviewer & writer: Corrie Tan

“In our time, we have sifted the sands of Mars, we have established a presence there, we have fulfilled a century of dreams!” - Carl Sagan

Inspired by the 40th anniversary of the 1977 NASA launch of Voyager I and II, the interstellar crafts that carried two ‘Golden Records’ deep into space. Part one of The Golden Record (NUS Arts Festival 2017) opened this ‘cultural Noah’s Ark’ and examined its interstellar contents in the new light of the 21st century.

The Golden Record 2.0 now shifts the focus: from the local to the universal. Given the chance to select the sounds, images and greetings that portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth, what message would Singaporeans choose to communicate with the universe? NUS Stage gathers these tokens of our world’s sights, “our science, our images, our music, our thoughts and our feelings” and presents this ambitious time capsule to a live audience before it is sent to the stars.

There will be a post-show dialogue following the 21 Sep performance.

Tickets are available here.

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10:30 AM10:30

ITI THEATRE FORUM 2018 | Of Use, Abuse and Misuse: The “Intercultural” in Theatre 

The ITI Theatre Forum returns this June.

Where once “multicultural” was enough and “cross-cultural” was the au courant, the “intercultural” has become a popular buzzword widely bandied around.

However, what exactly do we mean by “intercultural”?

How is the “intercultural” being manifested and represented today?

What are the various tensions, forces and points of rupture that form the “intercultural”?

Are there differing understandings of the “intercultural” and can they be reconciled?

How can the arts, in particular theatre, play a role in shaping meanings and discourses about the “intercultural”?

Come hear from:

  • Corrie Tan (Associate editor, Arts Equator)
  • Liu Xiaoyi (Artistic Director, Emergency Stairs)
  • Soultari Amin Farid (Joint Artistic Director, Bhumi Collective)
  • Zelda Tatiana Ng (Creative Director, Ground Z-0)

Moderated by Charlene Rajendran (National Institute of Education)

Opening remarks by T. Sasitharan (Director, Intercultural Theatre Institute)

Closing remarks by Alfian Sa'at (Resident Playwright, W!LD RICE)

This forum is held in collaboration with the Arts and Culture Management Program, at the Singapore Management University School of Social Sciences.

Admission free, donations welcome. Register here.

All donations go towards the Möbius Fund, a revolving loan fund for actor-students. Each and every dollar a student pays back upon graduation goes back to the pool to enable another student to tap on this financial assistance source.

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to May 12

Points of View 2018

I will be conducting two days of clinics and workshops in performance writing as part of Points of View 2018 by Centre 42 and the Asian Dramaturgs' Network.

Points of View: Critical Frames for Performance Writing and Making is a nine-day programme for young performing arts writers and makers to explore various ways of viewing and approaching artistic works. Held on 4 - 12 May 2018 under the auspices of the Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA), successful applicants will experience a range of performances, and engage in critical dialogue with SIFA artists, organisers, industry experts and fellow critical thinkers.  

Points of View consists of two tracks:

  • Performance writing. For those interested in critical writing, including reviewing, research, arts journalism and arts administration. Facilitated by Lim How Ngean.
  • Performance making. For those interested in critical dialogue about performance making, including directing, acting, designing, playwriting and dramaturgy. Facilitated by Charlene Rajendran.

Participants will:

  • Contribute to discussions, tutorials and other workshop activities with the programme facilitators.
  • Attend selected SIFA performances for free.
  • Dialogue with SIFA artists and organisers.
  • Share their experiences with the public in a forum.

(Application Period: 26 February to 25 March 2018)

To qualify for Points of View, you must be:

  • Interested in performance writing OR performance making
  • Aged between 18 and 30
  • A Singapore resident
  • Confident in both written and spoken English
  • Actively involved in performance studies or practice, either as student, recent graduate or practitioner
  • Able to commit to the entire programme from 4 to 12 May 2018

For more information and to apply, go to:

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8:45 PM20:45

Words Go Round: So You Want To Be A Writer

Part of the Singapore Writers Festival's Words Go Round public programming.

Featuring Hirzi Zulfiklie, Kirsten Tan, Gwee Li Sui, Corrie Tan

Do you hope to pursue writing as a career? Are you stumped by what this even means? Let four experts in their own fields offer insights on writing in different industries and what it means to marry your dreams with practical problems of survival.

Visit to purchase tickets.

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3:00 PM15:00


In conjunction with the 2018 M1 Singapore Fringe Festival.

Theatre that is reviewed is the theatre that is valued in world-wide culture.

Work that is not discussed is in danger of becoming an irrelevance.

The decline of mainstream media and the significant drop in revenue streams have led to critics being laid off across the world, and less space for theatre reviews. But these same cultural shifts have given rise to platforms presented by new and diverse voices that engage theatre makers in different ways and create an ongoing dialogue—whether it be on social media or essays online. The review is no longer the last word, but only the start of a conversation.

As we move into the digital age of the 21st century, it is perhaps time to re-examine the relationship between critics and artists. How can critics and artists work together to widen dialogue around theatre, and serve both the art and audiences better?

Lyn Gardner, Theatre reviewer, The Guardian
Alfian Sa'at, Writer, Resident Playwright, W!LD RICE
Corrie Tan, Theatre reviewer
Sean Tobin, Artistic Director, M1 Singapore Fringe Festival

Free admission. Register here.

An initiative by the National Arts Council. Organised by ArtsEquator Ltd

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3:00 AM03:00

Southernmost – Open Forum

Presented by experimental theatre company Emergency Stairs, the first edition of Southernmost is a theatre festival that will bring together some of the most outstanding and established traditional and contemporary theatre artists from the region for an intensive two-week intercultural exchange. It features a series of workshops and public presentations, as well as an open forum.

The open forum will feature six invited speakers – prominent artists, arts managers, academics and policy makers from Singapore and the region – with Hong Kong theatremaker Danny Yung as forum commentator.

What is intercultural theatre in Singapore at this juncture? What is the point of an intercultural dialogue? Through this forum, we will attempt to understand our own baggage, limitations and strengths, and why these exist. The next step will be to define, and then redefine, intercultural theatre in Singapore.

Speakers: Alvin Tan (Singapore), Alfian Sa'at (Singapore), Cedric Chan (Hong Kong), Corrie Tan (Singapore), Lim Wah Guan (Singapore), Jobina Tan (Singapore)

Venue: Chamber@The Arts House

Tickets: $12 at the door, or $78 for a 12-day festival pass

For more details, click here.

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