Theatre Notes

For our second KYD No. 13 teaser, respected theatre critic Alison Croggon reflects on the role her blog Theatre Notes played in her life and the critical world.

The rest of Alison’s interesting article – and the whole of Issue Thirteen – will be available for purchase next week!

Last December, after eight years of regular posting, I closed my theatre review blog, Theatre Notes. It was the first theatre blog in Australia, and one of the longest running anywhere. I expected a measure of dolour and dismay when I announced my decision; I didn’t expect what actually happened. I was swamped by hundreds of tributes, private and public, that left me stunned and, quite genuinely, humbled. It was like being at my own funeral, without the inconvenience of having to die first. And it told me things about the blog that I never knew while I was writing it.

The reasons why I closed it are complex. Writing long posts, often several times a week, was taking its toll, especially in tandem with my fiction writing and other reviewing. I was tired. Over the years I attempted to change the nature and volume of the blog, but I never could: it was as if the form came with its own demands. No matter how often I vowed to write less, I never could; in fact, it became a standing joke. But it was more than exhaustion that made me push the button. Since 2010, it had been clear to me that a cycle of energy in the theatre culture, one that had deeply engaged and driven the blog, had run its course. It was time for something else to happen, for something new to step forward.

Alison Croggon is a Melbourne poet, novelist and critic. She ran the review blog Theatre Notes from 2004–2012 and is the performance critic-at-large for ABC Arts Online. Her most recent novel is Black Spring (Walker Books 2012).

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