STAGE RAW presents

Stage Raw Performing Arts Coverage Symposia: Three Forums over Three Months!

September 28 – Nov. 23, 2015

#GetSceneLA @stageraw

STAGE RAW Founding Editor STEVEN LEIGH MORRIS has announced today a series of three public forums to occur between late September and late November, 2015 on arts coverage in our times.

All three forums will be presented by STAGE RAW and hosted respectively by ROGUE MACHINE, BOSTON COURT PERFORMING ARTS CENTER, and the 24TH STREET THEATER.



Tickets for all three panels are FREE. Donation to support Stage Raw programming will be gratefully accepted. Tickets can be reserved here.

#GetSceneLA @stageraw

Margaret Gray (Los Angeles Times) will moderate all three panels.

Panelists confirmed so far include: SASHA ANAWALT (U.S.C. Annenberg School of Journalism), ANTHONY BYRNES (KCRW), SHELDON EPPS (Pasadena Playhouse), JOHN FLYNN (Rogue Machine),  JAY McADAMS/DEBBIE DEVINE (24th Street Theatre) CHARLES McNULTY (Los Angeles Times), STEVEN LEIGH MORRIS (Stage Raw/L.A. Weekly), TRACEY PALEO (Footlights/Gia on the Move), BILL RADEN (L.A. Weekly/Stage Raw)  BOB VERINI (Variety/ArtsInLA), JOSE LUIS VALENZUELA (Los Angeles Theatre Center), and LAURA ZUCKER (L.A. County Arts Commission) Each panel will have a different focus related to the broader theme of performing arts coverage.

The implosion of performing arts coverage in print media is an unarguable reality.  As part of what’s been in a national trend since 2008, the L.A. Weekly, for example, dropped all long-form theater criticism, while relegating its theater articles, once a weekly staple, to one article per month. The shrinkage of arts coverage in general readership print media has led to a flurry of digital alternatives that are experimenting with form and content, yet have so far been mostly relegated to niche markets.arts

This raises the question of how to find the broader markets reached, with diminishing returns, by the print media? What are the most viable economic models for sustaining comprehensive and quality reporting while reaching for a broader market share? And how is it possible to engage ethnically diverse perspectives, to keep the performing arts, and its coverage, relevant to the population at large?

The three forums are part of STAGE RAW’s ongoing commitment to community engagement.  


The schedule for the forums is as follows:


Monday, Sept 28, 7:30 p.m. Rogue Machine, 5041 West Pico Blvd., Los Angeles.

1)    What do we want arts coverage to look like? 

2)    Short form or long form? Does that form depend on the point-of-view? 

3)    What makes for a great capsule review? What makes a great, longer essay? 

 4)    Social Media: Twitter preview opinions? Video clips? Do these technologies really add to the discussion, or are they just so much noise? 

Panelists: John Flynn, Charles McNulty, Steven Leigh Morris, Tracey Paleo, Bill Raden  (Margaret Gray, moderator)  


Monday, October 26, 7:30 p.m. Boston Court Performing Arts Center, 70 N. Mentor Avenue, Pasadena. 

1)    Value versus popularity (does the competition for click-throughs have an impact on content? 

2)    What kinds of stories get pitched? Approved? Written?  

3)    Is there value, or even such a thing as an “important” but unpopular story? i.e. if a difficult or esoteric play can eventually change the shape of playwriting through its longer-term influences, can the same be said of a difficult but challenging example of arts journalism?   

4)    The issue of readers paying, theaters paying, and the issue of loyalty to an outlet. 

5)    Not for profit journalism: Where is academia, as professional criticism shrinks?

Panelists: Sasha Anawalt , Anthony Byrnes, Sheldon Epps, Charles McNulty, Steven Leigh Morris, Laura Zucker, (Margaret Gray, moderator) 


Monday, November, 23, 7:30 p.m., 24th Street Theatre, 1117 W. 24th Street, Los Angeles

1)    L.A. is now majority minority. What has been done, and what can be done, to have our theaters, and our drama criticism, represent the ethnic and cultural make-up of the city rather than the narrow ethnic niche of theater audiences?

2)    Can we untangle whether or not the lack of diversity in theater-makers and audiences, and the lack of diversity in drama critics, stem from the same root? 

3)    What can be done to entice and develop a new, diverse generation of theater critics?

Moderated by Margaret Gray. Panel to be announced. 


STAGE RAW is an Emerge Project of the Pasadena Arts Council, which serves as its fiscal sponsor.