Yesterday I made a decision.

A big decision.

My life, my lifestyle, my body of work, my mindset, my future direction will be changed utterly with this one decision.

The decision is this: I will not be reviewing theatre.

I will be honouring my current review commitments which extend for the next 3 weeks – but will not be accepting any more invitations to review.

Quite a few events have lead to this decision, and it hasn’t been made lightly.

I had hoped that I could publicly reflect on my theatre to stimulate debate, discussion and to publicize excellent work being produced in Sydney. Initially I started reviewing in 2007 for AustralianStage to be able to see as much as I could and acquaint myself with the works of as many companies and artists as possible (having landed in Sydney after working in Canada). The aim was to build a network and compendium of cultural reflections.

Since then I have written for many websites – and gathered so much material that at a friend’s suggestion I needed to keep in one place… to ensure I could keep it – that was how was created in early 2009. Somehow my blog blossomed into an internationally quoted and referenced site… and invitations from publishers, festivals, shows, companies, visual artists and venues started flooding my inbox. Up to twenty invites a day – and then personal emails, text messages about the material. My readership was hitting between 100-800 page views a day from all over Australia, Europe and North America.

Along side this has been abusive, late night phone calls, threats, intimidation, name calling, harassment – everything from snarky emails and tweets about my spelling and opinions – to forceful character assassinations via psuedonyms on Twitter/Facebook/log Comment/email, manipulative and nasty lengthy emails about my duty to review “so-and-so’s latest show” and even threats of physical intidation.

All whilst completely unpaid.

On top of this blog, I have continued to provide feedback and development opportunitites and production support and I have directed, produced, advised, consulted and created work for over 600 people in the last six years.

However, I have been advised that I am seen as a “them” not an “us” by theatre companies – sitting down to job interviews and having the first question asked “How’s the blogosphere, Gus?”

Despite my altruistic intent – to support artists and provide a critical framework for local artists – to promote excellence and the future theatre makers of tomorrow, I was seen as a “critic” not a “friend” of a company.

I have made the decision that from July 1st (as soon as my current obligations are fulfilled.) I will only be writing about companies and projects that I am directly involved with as an artist (director, producer, board member, playwright, dramaturg, script assessor, rehearsal observer).

Here’s some things on the horizon:
Write Here, Write Now (workshops for playwrights)
A View From Moving Windows (a multi-playwright project I’m directing for True West, Riverside Theatres)
The Arts Platform ( a new creative development space opening in Surry Hills – I’m the Programs Director)
Platonic (a development at NIDA with the 7-On Playwrights)
Shopfront (I am continuing my role on the Board, now as Board Secretary.)

This site will now be about my projects, the people I am working with, portraits of programs or companies I am working for or running.

Thank you to all those who have been supportive of me making this decision. For all who have protected me, or soothed me after brutal or heated private attacks. Thank you to the artists I have loved and known… thank you to my fellow critical colleagues especially James Waites, Kevin Jackson , Jane Howard, Diana Simmonds, John McCallum, Jason Blake and Alison Croggon and Cameron Woodhead.