Yun-Cheol Kim, Editor-in-Chief
This 7th issue of Critical Stages is special in several ways. Firstly, for the first time in its short history, the Special Topics section is entirely devoted to theoreticians. Thanks to section editor Patrice Pavis, we were able to invite such eminent scholars as Matthew Reason, Peter M. Boenisch, Christopher Balme, Rachel Fensham, Hans-Thies Lehmann and Patrice Pavis himself to write essays on aspects of current research on the spectator. “Watching” is one of the topics most frequently discussed by today’s theatre academics. The topic is more than relevant in this postdramatic or postmodern era, when the role of the theatre makers is being gradually reduced while that of the spectators is becoming more and more important. Quite often, we critics relate our reviews to their theories, and serve as a bridge between general readers and theoreticians. I am very sure that all these articles in this Special Topics section will long be appreciated and prove useful to us critics, whether journalistic or academic.
Secondly, we offer a record high number of Performance Reviews in this issue. Seventeen reviews: one from Asia, one from Africa, one from the Middle East, one from North America, and the rest from Europe. More specifically, three from Western Europe, two from Scandinavia, and eight from Eastern and Central Europe. It is quite natural that we have the most reviews from Eastern and Central Europe, since it is there that theatre is most produced and best liked. Whenever I visit the region, I am overwhelmed by the commitment of the theatre makers and the enthusiasm of the spectators. I don’t feel any crisis of the theatre there. Section editor Matti Linnavuori and I are very happy that our colleagues from around the world are becoming increasingly eager to participate in this performance review section. We are creating a deep and broad, lively and reliable window onto contemporary world theatre. This is surely one of the most important reasons we are publishing this journal.
Thirdly, this issue is also special for its Essays section, edited by Maria Helena Serôdio, where you will find analytical, historical, semiotic, and cultural essays and reviews of the theatres of East and West by five established authors, who move freely from essay to review, and from review to essay, often with relevant references to cultural theories.
Fourthly, at last we have two essays by young and established critics Mark Brown and Andrea Tompa in the Critics on Criticism section, which has long been inhabited by me alone. And once again I urge my colleagues around the world to join in the fight against the global crisis in theatre criticism. This section could be an effective and efficient vehicle for sharing the joys and concerns of our critical community, and for developing common strategies to fight against the blurring of ethical lines, anti-intellectualism and the many forces that threaten our freedom of speech.
Last but not least, the other sections—Interviews, Book Reviews, Conference Papers are also crowded with interestingly selected articles that more than deserve your keen attention. I am very proud and happy, again. Thank you.
 Yun-Cheol Kim is President of IATC; recipient of the Cultural Order of Korea; Professor at the School of Drama, Korea National University of Arts; editor-in-chief of Critical Stages. Two-time winner of the “Critic of the Year Award,” he has published ten books so far, two of which are anthologies of theatre reviews.