The IATC in collaboration with its Indian National Section held a vibrant Young Critics’ workshop as part of the second IAPAR International Theatre Festival in Pune, India, between the 5th and the 10th of November. IAPAR, based in Pune,is the International Association of Performing Arts and Research, headed by Vidyanidhee (Prasad) Vanarase, who is also the President of the Indian chapter of the International Theatre Institute (ITI).

The workshop was monitored by the Indian National Section’s founder-representative Deepa Punjani and her Pune-based colleagueDr. Ajay Joshi.  Eight young critics from around the world (Manvi Ranghar from India, Lo Chien from Taiwan, Barbora Etilikova from Czech Republic, Ivona Janjic from Serbia, Kelly Bedard from Canada, Sim Lai Fong from Hong Kong, Joana Pajnelo Alves and Eunice Azevedo from Portugal) participated in the workshop and engaged in various insightful discussions. Participants encountered a variety of cultures that the festival featured. There were various productions from India and from other countries, such as South Korea, Argentina, Germany, among others. The participants were carefully guided towards appreciating and understanding the variety of performances.

The workshop attempted that the participants reflect and discuss the many different aspects and challenges of being a theatre critic, including some that were more difficult to define,such as how a critic differs from the rest of the audience, what is the critic’s role, what a review is, and the different ways through which critics can develop and grow. These discussions emerged as part of an analysis of select texts on theatre criticism, which were part of a module, designed by Deepa Punjani for the workshop. Another important subject of the workshop were the challenges of writing a critique that each participant individually faced. The common and the more interesting points were then thoroughly examined, and young critics were advised on how these challenges could be overcome.

The workshop also featured guest theatre critic, Aditi Sharma, Assistant Editor of the Pune edition ofthe Times of India. She spoke about her experience as a theatre critic and shared her views about some of the productions of modern Indian theatre in Mumbai and in Pune, which she had appreciated. She also shared her experience of watching performances outside the city, which were community specific, and which highlighted examples of indigenous forms of performance in India.

Ivona Janjic

(Participant from Belgrade, Serbia)