Before Robyn Archer suggested the formation of a Critics Circle, Adelaide's critics barely spoke to one another -- passing like ships in the night in theatre foyers.
We are the scribblers in the dark, the people who leave theatres like greased lightning after a performance and rarely enjoy the vital post-performance throng and cast parties. We are the people who hate nothing more than the words "what did you think of the show?"
If you're lucky, we'll mutter "you'll find out" or "I'll write it down for you".
And so we do...while everyone else parties into the night or goes to bed.
It's one of the loneliest jobs in the world and often, when tackling some complex new play with promise but many flaws, ekeing out words like drops of blood, summoning up the perspective of comparison, realising that the hearts and souls and careers of people are at stake in what we write, we wonder why we are doing it.
But we know why we do it. Passion. Love. Commitment.
We are part of the arts industry. We are an essential ingredient, loved and hated.
We are the arbiters. We are objective eyes with subjective souls.
None of us is rich. Criticism is not well paid. We do it for the same reason that practitioners do it - because the arts are lifeblood of our society, the civilizing force which reflects the sensibility of a society just as much as it diverts and entertains and enriches.
- Samela Harris
Founding Chair 1997-2009
Peter Burdon, critic, The Advertiser and Blaze.
Myk Mykyta, retired drama lecturer, critic Radio Adelaide
Arna Eyers-White, critic, proprietor DB Magazine
Samela Harris, senior theatre critic, The Advertiser. Founding Chair (1997-2009)