Post-Dispatch to End Arts Reviews as the RFT Restarts Them

click to enlarge André De Shields (Lear) and Rayme Cornell (Goneril) in the 2021 St. Louis Shakespeare Festival production of King Lear. - COURTESY THE SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL
André De Shields (Lear) and Rayme Cornell (Goneril) in the 2021 St. Louis Shakespeare Festival production of King Lear.

The Post-Dispatch announced this weekend that it will end arts reviews because the articles do not get enough traffic online. William Roth, artistic director for St. Louis Actors' Studio shared the news on his Facebook page. The quote comes from an email from the Post-Dispatch.

"The Post-Dispatch unfortunately will be discontinuing arts reviews. We have found that reviews reach a very small portion of our STLtoday audience, so we instead are focusing our resources on other kinds of performing arts coverage that will resonate with more of our subscribers. But that doesn't mean less theater coverage; we will be looking to write even more previews and profiles that will help connect our readers with your work and with news about your organization. We welcome your ideas and opportunities to showcase the people who make theater come alive."

“We are not wavering in our commitment to arts coverage,” says St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editor Alan Achkar. “As we are reevaluating reviews, we will continue to highlight theatre and symphony coverage and hope to pivot to more features, profiles, advances and trend stories. Arts coverage in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch will remain vibrant and strong.”

Roth disagrees. "Intelligent review, debate and interpretation of the arts starts many times with a point of view expressed by a journalist," Roth wrote in an email. "Covid and streaming entertainment has kept people in their houses. Without an initial point of view, public discourse of the arts and attendance suffers."

The RFT has cut back on arts reviews since the pandemic but plans to start doing more theater reviews starting with the Black Rep's Jitney, which opens May 11.

About The Author

Rosalind Early

Rosalind is the former editor-in-chief of the Riverfront Times. She formerly worked for Washington University's alumni magazine and St. Louis Magazine. In 2018, she was selected as a Rising Leader of Color by the Theatre Communications Group. In 2014, she was selected as an Emerging Leader by FOCUS St. Louis...
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