Sightlines on temporary hiatus

Sharkbear, Theatre Goer and other interested parties:

The online theater-review project that John Crutchfield and I established two years and two months ago isn’t dead. We are, however, taking a temporary break to regroup. We’ve been down to a shoestring cast lately, and need to add a few more players.

We started Sightlines to provide a forum for honest, thoughtful criticism, and that’s what we’d like to continue to do. Securing consistent reviewers proved difficult, probably because of the constraints of the project: it takes time, requires quick turnaround, doesn’t pay much and even earns the writer some ire at times. Oh yes, and you have to write well and deal with sometimes-preoccupied editors. Abundant thanks to the reviewers we’ve had these past two years. They’ve driven all over Western North Carolina to provide coverage of every theater putting on regular shows, bringing thoughtful and informed insights to the task.

I heard from people who appreciated what we were doing. And I heard from people who didn’t. More than anything, I watched a stream of anonymous, often hostile comments when the tone of reviews strayed from back-patting and promotion. Still, we feel strongly that Asheville’s theater community can benefit from constructive criticism. The absence of flattery can provoke, instead of contention and stalemate, critical, original thought and vital discourse. And maybe it’s just nice to know someone’s paying attention?

We’ll have more details soon, but if you have interest in reviewing or other suggestions or ideas, please email me at or John at 

Awesome mask image courtesy


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5 thoughts on “Sightlines on temporary hiatus

  1. Holy Hamhock

    With reviewers who do not have direct ties to theatres or production companies one can hope.


    I dig the sentiment, honestly I do. I feel, however, that it may need qualifying…and I’m bored honestly. If anyone still checks this, can we open this up for discussion? I think we’re clear that producers and artistic directors of specific theatre companies shouldn’t be posting here, but where does it end? We don’t exactly have a large enough community to grab a small merry band from our already incestuous theatrical ratpack and say, “Aha! You know something about theatre! Now never practice it again!….and preferably travel back in time to not have practiced it with anyone in any of the plays you’ll be reviewing.” So where is our line between street cred and pandering. Is it a matter of someone being paid? Is it a certain level of the theatrical hierarchy we can’t go above? My gut reaction is can’t be employed by a specific theatre but even that line is blurry, as some of us hold fealty to certain theatres without ever touching a dime (which is something we can never view as a bad thing if we want our little scene here to survive). Just curious what other views are as I’m struggling with the question myself and can’t imagine the administrators are having an easier time of it.

  3. Dramaturg

    Sharkbear probably has it right. The editors must be struggling with finding reviewers who will be qualified, unaffiliated, and good writers. Maybe Holy Hamhock and those who have complained will send a confidential list of five suggested writers to the editor. Perhaps some of the same names will appear on more than one list and some candidates will emerge.

  4. Dramaturg

    With the summer theatre season ending and the fall theatre season beginning, any word on when theatre reviewing will resume?

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