Andrea Tompa[1]


Media for criticism is transforming very quickly. Space for theater criticism is continuously shrinking in the newspapers and magazines in the past two decades. Theater magazines and journals are fighting for an audience and to sell printed copies. From TV and radio professional criticism disappears. Professional critics are less and less needed as stuff members. To be a professional critic might become a hobby, but not a career.

And virtual space is also widening: lots of new forms and forums are open for criticism, for opinion, for likes and dislikes. Blogs, community pages, comments are taking the role of criticism. Amateur critics become more and more important even for the theater makers, for the box office, for PR materials. Are indeed all opinions equal?

Is this an anti-elite, or anti-intellectual era where professional criticism is no longer a unique voice to be listened to? Is this process just one of the outcomes of the diminishing hegemony of print press or we witness the transformation of the role of criticism in general? Is there a rupture between audience and professional critics? Is this democratization of culture? New forms would simplify professional criticism which is becoming just a „like” or „dislike”?

[1] Andrea Tompa, PhD (1971) is a Hungarian theatre critic, researcher and writer. Her main field of interest is contemporary Hungarian, Russian and East European theatre and drama. She is the editor of the theatre magazine SZINHAZ (Theatre). Since fall 2009 she is the president of the Hungarian Theatre Critics’ Association, and also an academic at Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj, Romania. She is the author of two novels.

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