My media tickets privilege has been revoked for the rest of the season at Stratford.
I had an interesting phone conversation with Ann Swerdfager, the PR head of Stratford this morning. She was bright and breezy saying she enjoyed my reviews. Then we got to the meat of the call. She said that Stratford was revoking my media tickets for the rest of the season.
I asked why.
She said it didn’t look like I was a fan/ friend (not sure of the word) of the Stratford Festival.
I asked if they read my reviews. They are fair and tempered, with two raves in one case.
I asked who requested it. She couldn’t say.
Poor woman. She is only the messenger. She is in an invidious position.
I was made ‘unwelcome’ several years ago by Canadian Stage with the same kind of suggestions. They too claimed I was not a friend of their company and my reviews were therefore negative. All of this was disproved. It never works to ban critics. The theatre always suffers, and it gives the banned critic more notoriety than the theatre intended. So disheartening all round.
For the record, I am not an enemy of any theatre company. I am a critic. I attend as much theatre as I can and I review what I see. Sometimes I like what I see, sometimes I don’t. But I always try to be fair and supportive. No, I am not going to LOVE everything. But I do LOVE the theatre. It is what I have devoted my life to. And it’s obvious to anyone who has read or listened to my reviews over the years.
Perhaps Des McAnuff was really ticked off at my blog piece March 13. I was simply offering a bit of perspective on Stratford, my own. Sad. http://www.slotkinletter.com/?p=1433
Ms. Swerdfager offered me the opportunity to buy the tickets, which media usually receive as a media benefit. I am happy to buy my tickets. In fact, even when I accept media tickets to a show I often return and pay for tickets to see the show again.
Finally, Ann said that they review the situation next year. Of course, Mr. McAnuff will no longer be artistic director at that time.