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Autumn 2020 Newsletter


The Newsletter can be recreated here. Import images, copy and paste text. I just included random photos because I couldn't see the ones in the actual newsletter.

Autumn Newsletter

We hope this email finds you and your loved ones healthy and safe, and that you are managing during this very challenging time. We hope you will join us for two upcoming events!


Speaker Series

We invite you to join us for two upcoming Zoom chats. All are welcome. Zoom link in the description. Please RSVP here.

The Critic as Audience Member: Towards More Inclusive and Democratic Models of Theatre Criticism in Canada

October 26, 12:30 - 2:30 EST ZOOM chat

Special Guests: Signy Lynch, York University Michelle MacArthur, University of Windsor

In February 2020, Ojibwe/South Asian artist Yolanda Bonnell asked that reviews for the Toronto production of her show bug be written only by Indigenous, Black, or critics of Colour (IBPOC), citing both the cultural specificity of the work and the systemic racism embedded in “current colonial reviewing practices” (“Why playwright Yolanda”)

Bonnell’s controversial request, though not without historical precedent, articulated a shared feeling among many IBPOC artists in Canada and abroad that members of the largely white mainstream critical establishment are often ill-equipped to write about their work. It also drew attention to the lack of IBPOC voices within the critical establishment, something that our recent survey of theatre reviewers in Canada confirmed. Our CSAR presentation begins with the debate generated by bug to examine the figure of the critic as audience member in the context of Canadian theatre. Drawing on findings from our ongoing, SSHRC-funded national study of theatre criticism in Canada, we ask to what extent the digital age is empowering both critics and audience members from equity-seeking groups to intervene in public discourse. We then examine data from IBPOC artists themselves to outline the urgent changes needed in re-envisioning theatre criticism as something that could be “socially engaged, culturally responsive, and inclusive” (Shaffeeullah 35). As we present our findings, we highlight the methodological questions with which we have engaged in our attempt to centre IBPOC voices in the research.


Tandem Dances: Choreographing Immersive Performance November 16, 12:30 - 2:30 EST ZOOM chat Special Guest: Julia M. Ritter Chair and Artistic Director Dance Department, Mason Gross School of the Arts Rutgers University

Join us as we celebrate the publication of Julia Ritter's new book Tandem Dances: Choreographing Immersive Performance. The book proposes that choreography is critical to immersive productions in that it serves as a crucial mechanism by which the spectator's role is transformed into that of an active participant within the production, namely, a subject of choreography enacting an improvisational score. Read More

Julia M. Ritter, PhD, MFA, is an award-winning dance artist and scholar whose work demonstrates the interdisciplinary integration of over 30 years of training in dance, voice, and theater techniques. We are delighted that she will join us for this chat! Read More


We look forward to welcoming you on Zoom! To register for one or both talks, please RSVP here.

"Theatre companies are pushing storytelling boundaries with online audiences amid COVID-19" New publication from CSAR Co-Director Kelsey Jacobson Read the article here

COVID and Performance

Last week saw two social media campaigns raising awareness of how COVID has affected live events and theatres around the world. Hundreds of theatres, from the West End to Broadway to regional theatres light up in red lights. Artists, Technicians, Teachers, and more shared their stories of how live theatre has changed their lives, and how they are missing it today. For more, please visit: From all of us from the Centre for Spectatorship and Audience Research, our support goes out to everyone connected to live events. We will gather again.

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