Give us a chance

Change is in the air.

Firstly, today I mark another birthday off the list – and as usual I am promising to be better organised, more sensible and far more healthier than I usually am over the next year.

That said, I’ll leave the personal stuff to witty Facebook updates over the next 12 months.

Here at, the first of a range of upcoming changes hits the website today with the return of our regular weekday columns.

Myself, Matt Edwards, Les Solomon, Grant Jones and Sophie Bruhn will do our best each day to provide informative and entertaining content.

Regular weekday columns were part of the emergence and success of, hence we’re excited about what an all-new line-up may mean for our future.

Over the next few months, we’re looking to increase the relevance of to the theatre world and ensure that we truly are the voice for Australian theatre.

We’ll have to do it by climbing over many stumbling blocks.

Theatre is a tough and challenging business.

It’s tough and challenging for the actors, who are often left desperately searching for work, and when they find it, are left hoping such work is sustained.

It’s tough and challenging for the producers, who most pull their hair out at times trying to figure out exactly what the general public wants.

And it’s tough and challenging for the theatre media, who face an industry that constantly puts brick walls up to stop it moving with the times.

There has been much discussion recently about the lack of arts coverage in newspapers, particularly in Melbourne, and obviously the blame has – perhaps fairly – been pointed straight at the newspapers themselves.

At, covering theatre in the way we desire to cover it is increasingly difficult.

I always wanted to make this website more than just a cut and paste exercise. I wanted it to break stories – to be the website people turn to for theatre information. In many cases, this has been successful, but it hasn’t always been easy.

Along the way, we’ve been forced to remove countless stories that were totally 100% correct at the request of publicists, producers, agents and performers. In the majority of cases, these stories related to breaking news of cast lists or of upcoming shows.

Yes, I do accept that breaking a story is not always the desired result. Official press releases and announcements are to come, hence I can understand it could be a little bit of a blow when we manage, through contacts and sources, to discover relevant information.

But in what other industry would it be accepted practice for journalists to simply sit idle and wait for stories to come to them? In what other industry are journalists essentially met with demands over what they can and can’t say about the truth?

I’ve even been told that in one case, a performer was told her contract offer would be withdrawn if did not remove a story breaking the news of her casting.

Industries that thrive in public interest achieve it because journalists break stories. Look at sport, or even politics. If it wasn’t for journalists digging that little bit deeper, stories simply wouldn’t get out.

My plea to the industry itself is this: If obtains stories, that are 100 per cent true, hold your tongue and accept it. Don’t take this industry a step backwards by protecting something that doesn’t need to be protected. Accept that through this website, your show could actually create a buzz you didn’t plan for around the board room table.

To the general readers, I ask this: Help us become the voice of theatre. Spread the word, and keep in the forefront of your mind.

I believe theatre and this website both have a huge future. Your support is needed; and so is that of the industry.

My assurance to our readers is that we won’t back down and we won’t give up. We’ll keep breaking stories, and we’ll keep pushing theatre more and more every single day.

Enjoy the ride with us.

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