NewCrit Guidelines and Best Practices
NewCrits focus on an analysis of a specific show, beyond the traditional “thumbs- up, thumbs-down” review. When we first kicked off this section of the HowlRound Journal, we described our impulse thusly:
We (...) want to foster more in-depth dialogue about the work on stage. We want to bring the art of criticism to HowlRound—to more regularly talk about the art and foster a space for respectful dialogue about what gets produced and why. We will work closely with our critics to cultivate a HowlRound voice that engages the work on stage through positive inquiry asking: Why this play, playwright, or story now? This criticism will not be aimed at ticket sales. In fact it’s unlikely that articles will be published during the run of the show—our hope is to deepen conversation around the work and emphasize its importance above and beyond the market value of the ticket.
NewCrit articles are 1000–1500 words, edited for style and content, and usually published within a month of submission. Upon publication of a NewCrit review, we pay the author $200.
Though you are welcome to pitch a NewCrit piece on any show, here’s what we’re most likely to be interested in:
- Non-commercial work
- Work being done in places that aren’t considered “theatre hubs”
- Work that is less likely to be documented through traditional media outlets or reviews
- Formally experimental work
- Work by creators who are from communities or backgrounds that have not traditionally been represented or given equal access to opportunity in mainstream theatre
- Work that addresses a pressing contemporary or political issue
When writing your piece, please avoid spending too much time on plot summary. We’re really looking for a deeper analysis that places the work in a larger, broader context, whether that’s the context of the time or place it’s done in, an artist’s body of work, or its genre.
- “Antigone in Ferguson: Dramatizing the Divide Between Law Enforcement and Community” – This piece does a great job in highlighting a theatrical event that took place in a non-traditional space and that had a timely, political relevance.
- “Re-membering the Canon: Sam Gold’s The Glass Menagerie” – The author of this piece gives a new perspective on a production that was high-profile and received a lot of attention.
- “Sabine Women, Satire, and What is Truly ‘Daring?’” – The author of this piece places a new play in the context of long-running discussions about the use of satire and analyzes it through a feminist lens.
- “One Queen’s Highly Personal/Subjective Reaction to Taylor Mac’s A 24-Decade History of Popular Music – This piece is full of heart and personality, and it documents an unusual and groundbreaking performance.
- “We’re All That: Raja Feather Kelly and the Imprint of Pop – This piece is an in-depth analysis of an experimental, cross-genre work.