Theatre and Performance Criticism: a Survey | The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

Theatre and Performance Criticism: a Survey

by Dr Diana Damian Martin and Dr Margherita Laera

Image of theatre criticism and dramaturgy course for dramaturgs at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London. Pictured: field trip to Battersea Arts Centre

The theatre and Performance Criticism Survey is a quantitative data gathering and analysis project that responds to the radical changes that have altered the ecology of criticism in the past two decades, its conflicts, politics and poetics.  

This survey sets out to explore the current ecology of theatre and performance criticism in the UK. It is the first survey of its kind to provide data on the ecology of criticism, from the point of view of those who self-identify as critics and writers, and operate within it. The survey takes a deliberately broad definition of ‘criticism’, in order to account for both established and nonconforming practices. The survey considers those who identify as professional, as well as those writers and cultural workers operating outside of established structures, those who work irregularly with criticism, or whose work reflects on criticism.

This survey aims to begin to capture the impact that structural, economic and cultural changes have had on a wide array of practices of criticism across theatre and performance. It seeks to capture quantitative data on who undertakes work within criticism, how they conceive of that work, and what kind of economic and professional conditions characterise its multiple strands. It contains 66 questions about criticism practices, income levels, time spent on criticism and other work, employment arrangements, ethics, political views and opinions about funding for criticism and the role and place of criticism in today’s society. We are also requesting information on equality and access to and within criticism.  

The project gathers reliable data that will provide invaluable evidence to understand the structural, material and political conditions that shape the critical landscape and its conceptions, tensions and formal remits in the UK, and to advocate for criticism and its value.

You can click the following link to view or undertake the survey, which will remain open until 4 January 2019.

Click here to complete the survey


This research project is led by two Principal Investigators (PIs), Dr Diana Damian Martin (Royal Central School of Speech and Drama) and Dr Margherita Laera (University of Kent), with Research Assistance from Bojana Janković. This survey has been elaborated in collaboration with a survey design and data gathering consultant, and a working group of critics and academics who acted as peer-reviewers.

The Ethics Committees at both institutions have approved the project.

The project is funded by a grant from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama with additional support from the University of Kent.

Dr Diana Damian Martin - @DianaADamian

Dr Margherita Laera - @margheritalaera