Theatre is Territory

Blogging about theatre blogging

As part of their series on blogging and the arts, the good people at the Magnetic North Theatre Festival have interviewed Praxis Theatre’s Director of Marketing and resident blogger, Ian Mackenzie.

Questions involve the origins of the Theatre is territory blog, Celebrity Theatre, and the role of the Internet in bridging Canada’s cultural landmass gap:

“What do we gain from creating a stronger sense of our national theatre except – maybe – to bask in some heightened sense of our sovereign statehood?”

Click through to read the full interview and all its anti-nationalist tangents.

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10 Responses to “Blogging about theatre blogging”

  1. mike says:

    Nice one dude. I’d say more, but then I’d be blogging about your blog interview on blogging.

  2. MooseGuts says:

    hey there,

    just trying to drum up some traffic for my blog – you gave great advice about leaving a comment, any comment, even a dumb one, on others blogs.

    So.

    Consider this – Dumb Comment #1.

    Please expect these daily.

  3. ian mackenzie says:

    Thanks Ryan – I’ve added the MooseGuts Live link to our theatre blogs list.

    I like your “Blog #12″ post – especially the bits about Toronto.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Excellent interview, Ian. I hope it serves to heighten your profile & readership, and inspire a few new theatre blogs!

  5. Simon says:

    “…and all its anti-nationalist tangents.”

    That POV really interests me Ian. Why does the term ‘Canadian theatre’ scare you? I am in total agreement with you about community theatre, but doesn’t community as subject matter expand outward from your neighbourhood to your city to your province to your country to the planet? Is it a distrust of borderism in general? There are national issues that affect us as artists and businesspeople that bind us as a community, should that not be reflected in the work?

    Just interested in an expansion on that note…

  6. ian mackenzie says:

    Thanks Anon!

    Simon,

    You’re right. As long as we are living and working under the current sovereign state system and its geopolitical divisions, there are always going to be rallying points for a national theatre. We work under the same laws, and share some geopolitical and ethno-cultural histories.

    This anti-nationalist streak comes primarily from a worry that notions of nationalism are keeping Canadians (and the citizens of other nations) complacent about the extreme suffering and injustice that’s happening elsewhere in the world – across borders.

    I worry that attempts to quantify and qualify a national theatre reinforce these complacencies.

    Canadian citizens currently have the luxury and resources to look for global narratives; and we’re going to have to learn those narratives if we’ re ever, for example, going to be able to provide persuasive sustainability leadership for emerging modern superpowers, such as China and India.

    So in expanding this idea, I think Canadian artists and arts administrators should work together to see how our shared national apparatus can be manipulated into serving a greater global cause.

    Because building a better Canada simply isn’t enough. We don’t have time to perfect our Canada before the rest of the world falls apart.

    Is this anti-nationalism?

  7. Simon says:

    Ah, bueno. And it certainly isn’t anti-nationalism, it’s responsible globalism. And it’s a great cautionary tract against artistic navel-gazing. I must admit that I spend much of my efforts in my own work talking about the war at home, although my stuff is usually local community-centric and humanistic.

    I saw two smashing plays at Mag North, both from TO, that tackled world affairs while remaining solidly rooted in Canada. ‘Goodness’ from Volcano considers genocide, and people are still talking about it, and ‘blood.claat’ nakedly discussed impoverished Jamaica, and blew the back of my head off. (d’bi, coffee? Poetry? Long walks in the rain?)

    Maybe there is an international theatrical aesthetic growing…?

  8. mary says:

    Ian, I can relate to your reservations about nationalism. Taken to extremes, it can get really ugly, and I’ve certainly witnessed a fair amount of that ugliness in the U.S. since the 9/11 attacks.

    I can’t help feeling that we need stories about what we share with the person at the other side of the globe at least as much as we need stories about what we share with the person who lives next door.

    I fear nationalism because it divides and division leads to fear and fear leads to all sorts of horrors. The history of the human race has shown this time and time again.

    I understand that in Canada there’s a feeling of being inundated with American culture (TV, movies, etc.), and I totally agree that Canadian artists should tell their stories. I just wonder about the need to promote the nationalism of it. Regardless of the culture depicted in any story (which would be self-evident), aren’t all stories about all of us? If you declare, “This is Canadian!” or “This is American!” are you not saying to the rest of the world, to some degree, “This is not you!” You at least risk being interpreted in that way. You risk being divisive and inciting a “mob mentality.”

    Joseph Campbell said: “Today, the planet is the only proper ‘in group.’ You must return with the bliss and integrate it. The return is seeing the radiance everywhere.”

    Oh, and I, too, am relieved that dumb comments are welcome.

  9. ian mackenzie says:

    “I fear nationalism because it divides and division leads to fear and fear leads to all sorts of horrors.”

    Amen!

  10. Meredith says:

    This is good information about theatres. I’ve been doing some research on gobos and stumbled across your blog.

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