Savas Patsalidis*

The increasing number of scholarly works published in the last few years, along with the increasing number of shows traveling, have helped people change many views and misconceptions they had concerning African theatre and culture in general. Yet there is still room for more before a better understanding of that continent is reached. To this end, Critical Stages/Scènes Critiques, true to its promise to bridge the gaps that separate international communities, devotes its current Special Topic Section to African Theatre and Drama.

It is our belief that Theatre (and whatever accompanies it) is primarily embedded in processes, institutions, structures and markets located, first-and-foremost, within national sovereign territories. Theatre is a genre primarily of nations, of political, cultural, ethnic and historical states of belonging. Theatre holds up its mirror first to its immediate surroundings before it crosses national borders and becomes international news. To know theatre/drama is to know the national Self. As the three renowned connoisseurs of Africa, Don Rubin, Tejumola Olaniyan and Femi Osofisan, who put together these essays, say, “Our goal here is certainly not to provide either the first or the last word on African theatre and drama. Rather it is our modest attempt to explore a few of the many areas of research that have been done, that are being done and that remain to be done in this fascinating part of the world.  If it provokes further exploration, if it stimulates writers and scholars to dip their own toes into the subject, it will have achieved its goal.”

In addition to the Special Topic on African Theatre, for the first time Critical Stages/Scènes Critiques devotes its Essay Section to one single topic, Michael Chekhov’s pedagogy. It all happened when Yana Meerzon approached me during the Shakespeare Festival in Craiova (2016) and discussed with me the possibility of devoting a whole section to Chekhov. At first I hesitated but the more we talked about it the more I liked it. So, a few months later, I gave Yana the green light to shoulder the responsibility of the Guest Editor, a task she undertook with great enthusiasm and professionalism. All the papers published here, signed by people who know very well the significance of Chekhov’s views on acting, are substantial contributions to international theatre scholarship and practice.

In addition to these special topics, CS #15 hosts a good number of  papers (interviews, book reviews, performance reviews) which enrich and expand the global and diversified scope of the journal. For the final selection I owe many and warm thanks to co-workers and good friends Matti Linnavuori, Don Rubin and Ivan Medenica, whose devotion and enthusiasm make things happen.

As of this issue I welcome, on behalf of the Editorial Board of CS, a young and very dynamic scholar and creative writer, Diana Martin Damian, who will be the Editor of the section  “Critics on Criticism,” a crucial part of the journal’s philosophy. Her presence guarantees the vitality of the section.

I also owe many thanks to all the authors of this issue whose contributions open Critical Stages/Scènes Critique to new perspectives and new theatre worlds. As mentioned in my last editorial (#14), from the very beginning the aim of Executive Editor Jeffrey Eric Jenkins, Managing Editor Don Rubin and myself as Editor-in-Chief was to reinforce the role of Critical Stages/Scènes Critiques as an engaging, provocative and accessible forum hospitable to the new, the promising and the humane. The essays included here help point the way.

SPECIAL THANK-YOU NOTE: For the completion of issue #15 all members of the Editorial Board of Critical Stages/Scènes Critiques and all members of IATC’s Executive Committee owe (once again) special thanks to Professor Jeffrey Eric Jenkins, Executive Editor of Critical Stages/Scènes Critiques and ExCom member, and the Theatre Department of the University of Illinois at Urbana, for their most valuable financial support. Their generosity keeps us alive.

*Savas Patsalidis is Professor of theatre and performance history and theory in the School of English (Aristotle University, Thessaloniki), the Hellenic Open University and the Drama Academy of the National Theatre of Northern Greece. He is also a regular lecturer on the Graduate Programme of the Theatre Department at Aristotle University. He is the author of thirteen books on theatre and performance criticism/theory and co-editor of another thirteen. His two-volume study, Theatre, Society, Nation (2010), was awarded first prize for best theatre study of the year. In addition to his academic activities, he works as a theatre reviewer for the ejournals lavartparallaxi, and the greekplay project. He is currently the president of the Hellenic Association of Theatre and Performing Arts Critics and the editor-in-chief of Critical Stages/Scènes Critiques, the journal of the International Association of Theatre Critics.

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