Ben Brooker reviews 'Remembered Presences: Responses to theatre' by Alison Croggon

Ben Brooker reviews 'Remembered Presences: Responses to theatre' by Alison Croggon

Remembered Presences: Responses to theatre

by Alison Croggon

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.

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Published in May 2019, no. 411
Ben Brooker

Ben Brooker

Ben Brooker is a writer, editor, critic, playwright, essayist, and bookseller. He has a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from Flinders University and an Advanced Diploma of Professional Writing from Adelaide College of the Arts. His work has been featured by Overland, New Matilda, New Internationalist, Australian Book Review, RealTime, The Lifted Brow, Witness, and Daily Review.

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