Critics’ Workshop

The Institute for Theatre Journalism and Advocacy

The Institute for Theatre Journalism and Advocacy was established to assist in elevating the level of arts criticism in the United States and to provide writers the opportunity to grow at the same pace as the arts and artists whose work they review and interpret. To accomplish this, KCACTF sponsors workshops at each regional festival where students write daily critiques of plays, which are then discussed in detail with mentors and peers in round-table sessions.

The process is simple and the rewards are many. If you are interested in criticism, contact your Regional Chair to find out the name of The Institute for Theatre Journalism and Advocacy Coordinator. He or she should be able to answer any questions you may have. Participation is open to any student with experience in writing and an interest in criticism.

At the regional festival, participants will study with a professional critic. During the course of the festival, student critics see most of the performances, and write about many of them (number to be determined by the regional coordinators). Then, in round table format, each member of the Institute, guided by the professional critic and/or the accompanying Coordinator, discusses the critiques. If feasible, the critiques will also be posted publicly soon after the performance. Like professional reviewers, members of the institute will learn that they are held accountable for their writing in a public arena.

At the conclusion of the regional festival, one participant is chosen from each region to advance to the National Festival at the Kennedy Center in April. There the critics selected write reviews, not only responding to plays at the National Festival and in Washington, but also studying with a variety of professional critic mentors.

From the national festival, at least one writer will be chosen by O’Neill Critics Institute director Dan Sullivan to attend the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center Critics Institute during its national playwriting conference (usually June-July), where he or she will study with leading professional newspaper and magazine critics from across the United States. All expenses will be paid.

Students interested in writing, criticism, and even literary management are encouraged to contact their regional chairs or consult the websites for information about The Institute for Theatre Journalism and Advocacy’s in their region.

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