Bloggers deserve comp tickets too, at least at the Lyric

The Lyric Hammersmith is trying out a new policy of comping in “regular theatre bloggers” to all its main house shows, which is a smart PR move and might also be another baby step towards a new post-print journalism.

I know Andrew Eglinton, founder and editor of the London Theatre Blog (right now, sadly on another of its extended hiatus periods – keep it bookmarked, it’ll be back) has gently pestered Ian Shuttleworth on a couple of occasions about including blogs in the Theatre Record. Mr Shuttleworth was justifiably loathe to open those floodgates, because Theatre Record is still near enough a one-man operation, and:

  1. keeping tabs on all the critical outlets currently operative in the blogosphere is a much, much bigger task than the already never-ending task of keeping tabs on every newspaper theatre section;
  2. deciding which blogs are and aren’t worthy of inclusion in a permanent record of critical discourse is too much power for one man to wield.

In the absence of such a unilateral journalistic edict, the Lyric has (presumably) hand-picked a selection of bloggers whose opinions it (presumably) considers to carry some weight – and (presumably) who have reacted favourably to its programming in the past. Perhaps if other theatre industry players – other venues, artists, producers, PR firms, journalists, academics – started weighing in with their own top tens, we’d start to see some overlap and the beginnings of consensus.

I’m very interested to know which other bloggers the Lyric is courting. If you’re one of them, I’d love to hear from you either directly via any of the options on the contact page, or in the comments on this post. Don’t worry, I’m not going to suggest we form a support group. I’m just interested to see what it is we have in common.

This was supposed to be the introduction to a blog on the Lyric’s latest main house production, The Big Fellah, which I saw earlier this evening, but I think that can wait until tomorrow night. All the reviews are out already – you’ve plenty to read while you wait for my two cents (I’ve even bookmarked them all for you – click here for the list).

In the meantime, let’s start the quest for consensus right here: which “regular theatre bloggers” would you invite to a production you were involved in?


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