Remembered Presences: Responses to theatre
Currency Press, $39.99 pb, 320 pp, 9781760622121
When Alison Croggon’s theatre review blog Theatre Notes closed in late 2012 after eight years in existence, its demise was met with a response akin to grief. The first blog of its kind in Australia, and one of the most enduring anywhere, TN became essential reading for anyone interested in Australian performance. Croggon’s often expansive and always erudite critical commentary earned her an international following (and, in 2009, the Geraldine Pascall Prize for Critic of the Year, the first time it went to an online critic).
Moreover, the reviews and essays on Theatre Notes were able to catalyse debate – much of it, in stark contrast to what usually passes for online conversation, respectful, informed, and cogently argued – in a way few comparable blogs have managed. If the typically unnuanced print versus digital debates of the mid-to-late-2000s were won and lost anywhere it was on Theatre Notes, a blog that, arguably more than any other, succeeded in combining the best traditions of newspaper criticism – curiosity, wit, and rigorous argumentation – with the internet’s most promising advantages, especially its potential for wideranging dialogue and community-building, and, above all, its unconstrained space.