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Janet Smith

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Janet Smith

Critical Futures Mentor

Janet Smith (she/her) has been covering the arts in Vancouver for three
decades, starting out as arts writer, theatre reviewer, and editor at the West
Ender, then moving to the Georgia Straight as arts editor. She’s also
freelanced for publications including Seattle Weekly, PostMedia, Where
Vancouver, Now Toronto, Dance Magazine, and the Dance Current. In
2020, she helped to found and lead editorial for Stir, a new Vancouver
digital platform dedicated solely to arts. She teaches writing at KPU and
sits on the Vancouver Film Critics Circle. Janet trained at Carleton
University’s Journalism program in Ottawa, with a specialization in fine arts
and film. She lives on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the
Coast Salish peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm
(Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-
Waututh) Nations.

For the Critics Program, we will have fun taking a wide look at theatre
criticism in digital and print media as it exists today—both locally and
internationally—learning the basic structures and components to a review,
and what we like and don’t like. We’ll discuss what a theatre review can
and can’t be, what its purpose is, and such key factors as tone, subjectivity,
objectivity, and criteria. We’ll also delve into what makes for a strong review
writing, such as active verbs, wider context, specific details—the kind you
have to scratch out on a notepad in the dark—and a strong, unified
lede/argument/theme. And then, of course, we’ll try our hand at writing
reviews, with lots of editorial-style feedback.