TP Talk - New Posting Policy

Chris Hughes's picture

In light of recent events that have taken place on the TP Talk board, our acceptable posting policy has now changed.

Anonymous postings will no longer be posted on Theatre People.  We also ask that our registered users use their real names to post, or risk havng their postings deleted.

Feedback is the breakfast of champions they say, but you need to choose your words carefully and most importantly, identify yourself. I'm sure most people don't mind getting some feedback, as long as it's put to them the right way and they know where it's coming from, but negative anonymous postings do absolutely nothing to further develop anyone's talents.  In fact, they do the exact opposite.  Before you make a posting, I ask you to ask yourself... Would I say this to the person's face?  How would I like it if this was said about me? How is this going to help anyone?  If your answer to any of these questions is "no", then perhaps it's best you kept your opinion to yourself.


The TP Team


About the Author

Chris is a founding partner of Theatre People. Over the the past thirteen years, he has made his mark on the theatre community as an actor, singer, dancer, producer and director appearing or directing over forty large scale productions. Chris made his professional theatre debut in as a principal performer in Follies In Concert at the Crown Showroom and went on to produce two professional productions. The many faces of Hughesy have been spotlit in lead and principal roles in Anything Goes, Sweet Charity, Oklahoma, Bye Bye Birdie,Chess, Hot Mikado, Grease, Jesus Christ Superstar, West Side Story and as Johnny O'Keefe in CLOC's Shout! Chris has earned multiple awards for his performances in various roles over the years, including 5 best leading male nominations and 2 best director nominations for Assassins and Phantom of the Opera.  Phantom was nominated for a total of 22 awards and took out Production of the Year. 

Anne Dewar's picture

Anonymous reviews!

Well said Hughsey!
Leave the reviewing to us reviewers I say! If someone doesn't agree with a review by all means say so using your real name but everyone seems to be an expert when hiding behind Anonymous. Companies specifically ask to be reviewed by TP reviewers NOT every Jack or Jill who thinks they know everything. However when a Company has asked to be reviewed they must accept that they will be getting that reviewers personal opinion which may not always be 100% positive. It is easy to think the show you are involved with is the best show in the world and then when a reviewer says "they struggled to reach that note" or "I didn't like the way that scene was done"....all hell breaks loose. Audiences and thespians if you didn't like a show, sure chat about it amongst your friends but don't make UNWANTED public comment. Unthoughtful, harsh, personal, negative comments from a reviewer or anonymous post can destroy a person’s confidence and I have witnessed this in shows I have been involved with many times and sometimes it wrecks their performance for the rest of the season which is so unfair when they have worked hard for months on a show and are performing to the best of their ability. As a TP Reviewer I put my name to what I write and sometimes it is not easy, particularly if I am reviewing a show I didn't like or some of the performances weren't great. It really does come down to individual taste but a reviewer also needs to have an open mind and be able to view a show, even shows they didn't like or performers they don't like on artistic merit. They also need to have the experience, knowledge or if not experience the expertise and talent to be able to make comment on all areas of the show in a constructive way. As a Director and performer I know I am not going to please everyone who sees my put yourself out there comes with the territory. Everyone’s vision is different and every Director's vision of the same show is different. I saw the show in question in the most recent anonymous posts and while I may have done things a bit differently or cast it differently it wasn't my was that directors vision and how they saw it and I respect that fact and I did enjoy some of the performances. The Director had her vision and I feel she stayed true to herself and as long as she feels she achieved what she set out to do and her cast is happy then that's all that matters. She has succeeded in my book and I applaud her. I understand that there was a big oversight in the review of the show, sometimes reviewers make mistakes but in hindsight perhaps it would have been better to have gotten the reviewer to apologize, modify/re written and re posted the review, rather than pulling it? Pulling reviews you don't like sort of defeats the purpose of having them done in the first place. Companies do put themselves out there by being reviewed and need to keep this in mind!
I have been performing, set designing and directing shows for 35 yrs now and I still wouldn't dare to say I know everything there is to know about theatre....."You can never know everything but you can always learn something" I say and I do learn something new with every show from someone, whether it be onstage or behind the scenes.
Hopefully anonymous will go into hiding now but I suspect the many anonymous postings will just continue as they get themselves a hotmail address and use a fake name!

Anne is well known in Musical Theatre circles and has over 35 years experience in both professional and non – professional Theatre, Pantomime and Television appearing in Commercials, Mini Series and in Comedy Sketches and on Rove Live. Anne is

Chris Hughes's picture

No more review reviews...

Also... Can everyone please take a break from "Reviewing the reviewers"? If you saw the same show and have an opposing point of view, then we'd love to hear about it, but you are not going to make your point any clearer by slamming the reviewer in the process.

Many of you have said repeatedly that you want the standard of reviews to improve. We hear you. If you are serious about seeing the standard of reviews improve, then you need to take the first step and stop bagging our reviewers. Please. Your negative postings have done absolutely nothing to help improve the standard of the reviews. According to your feedback, it has had the adverse effect. Fear of potential backlash has scared away some of our most experienced and qualified reviewers. I know this because they’ve told me first hand.

If you have some constructive feedback for our reviewers, then I'm sure they would love to hear it, but way too many posts are spent purely critiquing the critics.

If we are going to attract the best talent to review for us, then we need to create a safe environment for them to work. As a result, those reviewers can deliver constructive criticism that will be beneficial for the reader and the cast/production team/company involved.

I’d also like to once again ask anyone who thinks they can do a better job reviewing to contact us and express their interest.

P.S: For those of you who plan on registering with a fake name, we will be conducting checks on suspicious activity. We can also ban particular users (fake or otherwise) using their IP address.

Anne Dewar's picture

Again I totally agree with

Again I totally agree with you Hughesy.
Hasn't scared me off yet but the thought of being reviewed for a review you have written is I can tell you more than a little off putting nowdays to say the least. I always put a lot of thought into writing a review with care not to offend but try to call it as I see is after all my opinion.
Is the standard of reviews really that bad or is it just that some people only want to hear good things all the time? Although I find if a review is too gushy people tend to knock that as well! Can't win! It's ok to agree to disagree with a reviewer people but in a civil and friendly manner please. We want TP to be a nice place to visit.

Anne is well known in Musical Theatre circles and has over 35 years experience in both professional and non – professional Theatre, Pantomime and Television appearing in Commercials, Mini Series and in Comedy Sketches and on Rove Live. Anne is

Chris Hughes's picture


To clarify... I don't personally think the standard of reviews (particularly compared to other sites of our nature) are all that bad. We really do value the work that you and our other reviewers undertake. I've read a number of postings from several readers (particularly of late) who have suggested that we can do better in that department. I have to agree with them. I think we can always do better in everything we do and the day we stop striving for excellence is the day we should give up.

I don't expect that we will please everyone all the time, but it's my responsibility to listen to the feedback we get and take apporpriate action to ensure that the quality of content on the site continues to improve. While we are keen to attract new talent to the business, we are also committed to the coaching and mentoring of our existing team to help them hone their craft and we will be stepping up our efforts there too.

Just wanted to comment on

Just wanted to comment on something Anne wrote:

"Unthoughtful, harsh, personal, negative comments from a reviewer or anonymous post can destroy a person’s confidence and I have witnessed this in shows I have been involved with many times and sometimes it wrecks their performance for the rest of the season which is so unfair when they have worked hard for months on a show and are performing to the best of their ability."

Just going to put this out there. It's my opinion that actors in the middle of a run shouldn't read their own reviews in the first place. It's not worth it. Like Anne, I've seen plenty of vulnerable performers scarred by a bad critique from an unthoughtful observer and it's heartbreaking. Reviews should NEVER influence a performance. Positive OR negative as it may be...
The same goes with casts being informed when a reviewer is in attendance of a show. This is entirely unnecessary and potentially detrimental to the performance.

Nice work on the abolishment of the 'anonymous' posts by the way.

Chris Hughes's picture

You raise a good point Mark,

You raise a good point Mark, but rather than hide from a review until the run has finished, perhaps performers should learn to deal with reviews as part of their performing life? While I think the defence mechanism of ignoring reviews until a run has finished, or perhaps avoiding reading them altogether may help delay or avoid the issue, it can be difficult to ignore, particularly when a whole cast has read the review and they are just itching to tell you their views on the review they just read.

It is the responsibility of the more experienced, people in our community to coach those that are more vulnerable to criticism as to how to best accept it. As we produce work that's in the public eye, we are subject to review and that fundamental concept isn't going to change. As such, we need to learn how to deal with it. Maybe you develop a skin, where you ignore everything you hear and write it off as "Just one person's opinion". Perhaps you pick and choose the comments you'll take on board and leave the rest. Whatever your methodology, develop one. Getting upset to the point of letting a review ruin your show experience when someone points out something you could do better is something you need to learn to deal with. We are not born with the ability to accept feedback easily, we need to develop it.

By the same token, it's up to us to get the best possible reviewers on board who can critique a show in the best possible way and offer as much encouragement and support without simply avoiding talking about the flaws of the show for fear of upsetting someone. The role of a reviewer is not to coach the actors, but to give a critical overview of the show after all. It's up to the producer/director and production team to help their cast through the review period as well as the rehearsal period and assist them in interpreting the feedback correctly. I'm sure many do anyway, but judging by the statements made by you and some of our other theatre friends, this is a common occurrence and it needs to be addressed by us and by the companies we are reviewing. Our goal is to produce reviews that are informative to the reader, but also to produce reviews that are beneficial in improving the performance of cast and production team and to so that as best we can, we need the support of the entire theatre comminity.

The whole idea of having an

The whole idea of having an opinion is that it comes straight from your brain, to your mouth and out into the ether. Anyone who hides behind the 'Anon' tag is a coward. Not one person who comments on this website, reviewer or no, would stand up during a performance and mock an actor or bag their craft yet so many feel the comfort in skulking and sniping with anonymity. It takes a hell of a lot of guts for any person to get up on stage and bare their desire to perform to a room filled with silhouettes. We, as actors and the theatre going public, should support every member of each theatre company in Melbourne due mainly to their endeavour. There are performers who may never land the big roles or ever sing a solo but they are the ones who make the sound bigger the stage fuller and my enjoyment of theatre more real. I have worked with so many who ask nothing more than the right to enjoy their love of the stage and a grand applause. We only lessen ourselves by stooping to cheap shots and nasty jibes.