Code of Practice for Theater Critics

The Code of Practice for the International Association of Theatre Critics

Theater is among the most interactive of the performing arts. As privileged spectators, theater critics share with audiences and performers the same time and space, the same individual and collective stimuli, the same immediate and long-term experiences. As working theater commentators, we seek in our individual ways to articulate these interactions as a frame for discussion and as a meaningful part of the interpretation and significance of theatrical performance. The International Association of Theatre Critics therefore urges its members worldwide to accept as an agreed starting point the core professional guidelines articulated in this document.

  1. As writers and thinkers in the media and/or as scholars connected to various branches of academic discourse, theater critics should always remain aware of normative professional practices, respect artistic and intellectual freedom, and should write in what they believe to be the best interests of the ideals of the art of theater.
  2. Theater critics should recognize that their own imaginative experience and knowledge is often limited and should be open to new ideas, forms, styles and practice.
  3. Theater critics should speak truthfully and appropriately while respecting the personal dignity of the artists to whom they are responding.
  4. Theater critics should be open-minded and reveal (as appropriate) prejudices – both artistic and personal – as part of their work.
  5. Theater critics should have as one of their goals a desire to motivate discussion of the work.
  6. Theatre critics should strive to come to the theatrical performance in their best physical and mental condition, and should remain alert throughout the performance.
  7. Theater critics should try to describe, analyze, and evaluate the work as precisely and specifically as possible, supporting their remarks with concrete examples.
  8. Theater critics should make every possible effort to avoid external pressures and controls, including personal favours and financial enticements.
  9. Theater critics should make every possible effort to avoid situations which are or which can be perceived to be conflicts of interest by declining to review any production with which they are personally connected or by serving on juries with which they are personally connected.
  10. Theater critics should not do anything that would bring into disrepute their profession or practice, their own integrity or that of the art of the theater.

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About the author

Christopher Munden

Your faithful correspondent and publisher Christopher Munden has written and edited for many publications, websites, and cultural institutions. He was an editor/publisher of the Philly Fiction book series, collections of short stories written by local writers and set in Philadelphia. He's also a soccer coach and a pretty good skier.