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Critical Acclaim – 2007 Performance Reviews of Ten Days, and 2009 DANCE MASSIVE

Critical Acclaim was a joint initiative of arts@work and Ten Days on the Island first developed in 2007. The initial program was a professional development course aimed at increasing the quality and calibre of critical review and writing in Tasmania.

Through Critical Acclaim, Seven Tasmanian writers honed their skills in reviewing theatre, dance and new media performances during the Ten Days on the Island event.

Participants included animater and creative producer Lucy Wilson Magnus, artist, designer and curator Sara Wright, visual and performing arts agent, manager and producer Kylie Eastley, actor Mark Cutler, book editor and reviewer Stephanie Cahalan, actor and writer Anica Boulanger-Mashberg and project manager, actor and writer Gai Anderson.

The Critical Acclaim program included a range of performance experiences, guest speakers and ideas on reviewing and critical writing with participants attending up to 30 performances, events and forums.

Critical Acclaim facilitators included National Theatre critics Alison Croggon and James Waites, director of Playwriting Australia Chris Mead; editor of Art Monthly Maurice O'Riordan, art critic and curator Sean Kelly, theatre critic, director and actor Robert Jarman, actor, dramaturg and producer Iain Lang, dance critic and educator Lesley Graham and producer-director Annette Downs.

The facilitators worked with participants to sub edit their reviews which were published across 15 on-line and hard copy publications including The Examiner, ArtsHub, Tasmanian Times, Stock, The Dwarf, 40 Degrees South, Australian Stage and the Arts Tasmania Website.

In 2009 Critical Acclaim featured DANCE MASSIVE.  DANCE MASSIVE is a unique major contemporary dance event in Australia. Held in Melbourne in March across 2 weeks, in 3 venues with over 200 artists in 22 performances, it provided, in combination with the National Dance Forum, a chance to see, discuss and meet with some of Australia's finest contemporary dancers and choreographers. 

Critical Acclaim DANCE MASSIVE aimed at increasing the critiquing skills of two Tasmanian writers in the area of dance through providing exposure to a range of dance works, makers and critical ideas.

Emerging Hobart based writer Anica Boulanger-Mashberg and Launceston based writer, Wendy Newton were selected to attend Critical Acclaim at DANCE MASSIVE.

The writers undertook an intensive and privileged program across five days - viewing over 10 performances and events and having one-on-one conversations with significant dance makers and critics including Gideon Obarzanek, Lucy Guerin, Helen Herbertson, Alison Croggon and Keith Gallasch.

Participating in selected National Dance forum sessions, the writers responded to the work and developed longer articles for publication on their experiences at DANCE MASSIVE.

The writers engaged in many hours of challenging and rigorous debate about the varied performance work, the role of critical writing, styles of reviewing and avenues for written responses.