ATCA

The American Theatre Critics Association, Inc. is the only national association of professional theatre critics. Our members work for newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and on-line services across the United States. Membership is open to all who review theatre professionally, regularly and with substance for print, electronic or digital media.

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Tuesday
Oct212014

NY conference Nov. 7-9 extends Early Bird registration to Oct. 31

Early Bird registration at $165 (members) and $175 (guests), which includes Brunch with the Stars at Sardi’s on Saturday morning, has been extended through Oct. 31, then goes up $20. Brunch alone for member or guest is $65. More here.

Sunday
Oct192014

Beijing World Congress

At the 37th World Congress of the International Association of Theatre Critics, meeting in Beijing, China, Oct. 15-20, ATCA was represented by three chairs: Jonathan Abarbanel (ATCA excom), Jay HandelmanL-R: Handelman, Jenkins, Abarbanel (Foundation ATCA) and Jeffrey Eric Jenkins (ATCA International Committee). For the congress symposium on “A New World: The Profession of Criticism in the Internet Era,” Abarbanel delivered a paper entitled, “Tweet this: We’re not in charge anymore.”Abarbanel with Turkish delegate Zeynep Oral with student Peking Opera performers

The IATC’s fifth Thalia Prize for critical writing (previous winners: Eric Bentley, Richard Schechner, Jean-Pierre Sarrazac and Kapila Vatsyayan) was presented to Eugenio Barba, an early colleague of Grotowski who founded the Odin Theatret in Denmark. Read more about Barba here

Wednesday
Oct012014

Theatre Hall of Fame announces eight for class of 2014

The eight 2014 inductees into the Theater Hall of Fame include actor F. Murray Abraham (currently in It’s Only A Play), legendary actor Alvin Epstein (original N.Y. cast of Waiting for Godot), Tony-winning actor Blythe Danner (now in The Country House), director Marshall Mason, former N.Y. Times theater critic Frank Rich, chairman of the Shubert Organization Philip J. Smith, Tony-winning director/choreographer Susan Stroman (The Producers) and Tony-winning playwright Alfred Uhry (Driving Miss Daisy). The 44th annual induction will take place January 26, 2015, at the Gershwin Theatre, where membersip in the Hall is recorded on the walls in raised gold letters. The electorate of over 300 includes members of the Hall and of ATCA. Click here for more on the Hall and previous inductees.

Friday
Sep262014

Playwright Jennifer Haley wins $10,000 Primus Prize for 2014

September 17, 2014— ATCA announced today that playwright Jennifer Haley has been awarded the 2014 Francesca Primus Prize for her play The Nether. Haley will receive the $10,000 award check immediately and be officially congratulated at an upcoming ATCA conference. Jointly sponsored by ATCA and the Francesca Ronnie Primus Foundation, the Primus Prize is given annually to an emerging woman playwright.

(For more on the Primus Prize and a full list of winners, click here.)

The Nether is set in a futuristic world where virtual reality has become more seductive and engrossing than daily life. An admitted pedophile, Sims, has set up a Victorian site called the Hideaway where a child avatar named Iris entertains male guests. Its chief client is a science teacher named Doyle … . , whose whole life revolves around Iris and the Hideaway. But the site also attracts the attention of Morris, a female detective who questions both men about its implications. Sims argues that allowing men to indulge their fantasies in the safety of a virtual world keeps them from acting them out in reality, but even if that is the case, does that make their behavior acceptable?

The play’s clever plot twists turn it into an Internet whodunit. Beneath its surface story, however, The Nether asks provocative questions about the limits of freedom, creativity, and imagination. “These ideas really came from a subconscious place, but when I started researching, I found so much material about this theme of living out our imaginations,” Haley says. “Should people be allowed to live in a place of imagination even if it’s a very horrible place? … our imaginations are so powerful. And we spend a lot of our time in daydreams or imagining the future. In some ways, it’s what makes us human. [Carl Jung says] the world of dreams and imagination is a different reality, but it’s just as real as our physical reality.”
 
The Nether was workshopped at the O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwrights Conference in 2011 and received readings at the Lark Play Development Center and the Philadelphia Theatre Company. The play won the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize in 2012. The Center Theatre Group staged The Nether’s world premiere at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles in March 2013, and Headlong gave it a subsequent production at the Royal Court Theatre in London in July and August of 2014. It is slated to play at the Lucille Lortel Theatre in New York next winter. Both Northwestern University Press (USA) and Faber & Faber (UK) are publishing the play.
 
Haley studied playwriting with Paula Vogel at Brown University and is the founder and director of the Playwrights Union, a Los Angeles organization that supports both local and incoming theater artists. She has received commissions from Center Theatre Group and South Coast Repertory and has participated in the Ojai Playwrights Conference and the Sundance Theatre Lab, among others. She is also a playwright at New Dramatists. In 2009, her play, Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom, received a special citation from the Francesca Primus Prize committee. Other plays include Breadcrumbs, Sustainable Living, and Froggy.
 
Haley was selected from 28 award applicants by a nationwide committee of critics, chaired by Barbara Bannon (Salt Lake City, UT) and composed of Julie York Coppens (Juneau, AK), Marianne Evett (Arlington, MA), Michael Howley (Montgomery, AL), Lynn Rosen (Bellingham, WA), and Herb Simpson (Geneseo, NY).
 
“The Francesca Ronnie Primus Foundation was established to recognize and support emerging women artists who are making a difference in the theater community in which they work,” observed Barry Primus, the foundation administrator. Founded in 1997 in memory of actress and critic Francesca Primus, the Primus Prize was originally administered by the Denver Center Theatre Company. ATCA began overseeing the award in 2004. (For a full list of winners, click here and scroll down.)
Sunday
Aug102014

Theater Hall of Fame ballots coming next week

Ballots for ATCA members to vote on 2014 inductees to the Theater Hall of Fame are being mailed. Voting is a pleasure and responsibility of membership, so watch for your ballot. Meanwhile, read about the Hall of Fame on the ATCA site and see the list of members on the Hall’s own site.