And speaking of the relationship between drama critics and creatives, things could get even more interesting once Dominic Dromgoole takes over at Shakespeare’s Globe next year (See Today’s News). While the Globe’s current artistic director Mark Rylance, very much an actor-manager, is often perceived as somewhat guarded with the media, Dromgoole can is famously outspoken and can be downright combative. Writing in the Guardian, in a head-to-head with Michael Billington in the lead-up to Theatre of Blood’s opening, Dromgoole explained that there are three ways of handling criticism: rise above it, be obsequious or fight back. He admits that, though it’s “by far the worse”, he usually opts for the last. “If you get a bad review, write a vicious letter back to the critic. Write to the paper's arts editor and complain. And, if you're really stupid, write a seething article about how all critics are wrong about everything. I've done all three, often. I can't help it.” Despite such a predilection, Dromgoole admits the need for “good criticism” and acknowledges that there are several good critics in this country, the best of whom “have a vision of what theatre should be, against which the best practitioners have to define themselves.” However, he’d like the long-held grudges between certain critics and certain practitioners to be made more transparent. “The public have a right to know that (some) critics are not giving an unmediated review, and that personal animosity has written their review long before they take their seat. It would be far better to have all these battles blowing around in public than festering in private. It would also provide quite a firework display.” We look forward to plenty of explosions on the South Bank once Dromgoole moves in.
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