For numerous reasons, including time constraints, paper edition deadlines, and a cup running over with spring and summer events, I’ve been using this blog more as a news outlet and events reminder than as a discussion space. As a result, we haven’t had a good discussion here in a while. So let’s try one.
Since I’ve been in this job (almost exactly a year now) the topic of theater reviews has come up over and over again. This region has a ton of theater going on: Roanoke alone has Studio Roanoke, Roanoke Children’s Theatre, Showtimers, Gamut, the struggling but still not out Star City Playhouse and the shuttered Mill Mountain Theatre working toward a comeback. There’s the Little Town Players in Bedford County, Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre in Ferrum, Attic Productions in Botetourt County, the Theatre at Lime Kiln in Rockbridge County. All the local colleges and universities — Radford, Virginia Tech, Roanoke, Hollins, Virginia Western, VMI, and more — have stage productions. And let’s not forget Broadway in Roanoke at the Roanoke Civic Center, or the fact that the state’s official drama house, the Barter Theatre, is just a couple hours away in Abingdon.
Given that my responsibilities in this beat extend way beyond theater coverage, it’s not even possible for me to see one show over the course of a year from every single company on that list, much less all of each company’s offerings. This I know from practical experience.
I’ve been thinking for some time that this blog would be an ideal venue for theater reviews sent in by readers. It could be something as simple as comments on blog entries (“Awesome show!” or “This stinks, stay away!”) or, if you e-mail me something ranging from a couple paragraphs to a full grown review, I could post it and credit you as a guest blogger/reviewer.
I’m still quite a ways away from adopting things like rules or submission standards, but I thought I would toss this idea out first and see how it floats.
And, if reading this inspires you to shoot me something about one of the ongoing or recently closed productions, go for it. We can learn by doing just as well as by discussing.