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IBPOC Critics Lab: Call for Participation

/ Mar 10, 2023

The Stratford Festival and Intermission Magazine are pleased to bring the IBPOC Critics Lab to Canada in the summer of 2023.

Developed and led by cultural critic Jose Solís, the Critics Lab is an educational space for IBPOC (Indigenous, Black, and People of Colour) who would like to develop their theatre criticism skills. The program is open to Canadian residents who have not yet written theatre criticism and to those who already have some experience in the field.

Following tenets of dialogue, compassion, and nurturing one’s unique voice, Lab participants will contribute to the creation of a custom program that fits their specific needs and encourages them to pursue the path of criticism that best serves them.

What to Expect:

In the IBPOC Critics Lab, participants will approach criticism through a multimedia lens, in which podcasting, audiovisual techniques, and social media (including TikTok and Twitter) are as valuable as being skilled in written essays and traditional reviews.

The program starts with five weekly online master classes, in which critics begin by defining “What My Criticism Will Be” and work with Jose and guest teachers on developing competencies in critical engagement with live (or digital) theatre performances, as well as skills in shaping story ideas for publication, pitching to editors, and responding to edits. The program continues with a residential session at the 2023 Stratford Festival in which participants will see productions, meet Festival artists, and have face-to-face master classes with Jose. Pending further funding, the residential portion of the 2023 Lab may extend to include dates in Toronto during which participants will view and review productions in the Toronto Fringe Festival.  

The program concludes with a final wrap-up session online.

As part of the Lab and with the support of Jose and Intermission’s editorial team, IBPOC Critics Lab participants will create two articles for Intermission and leave with those published pieces, as well as practical knowledge of editorial process, tools for decolonization, and a reminder that it is important to honour their individual voices first in order to honour the culture and art forms they’re covering.

Participants are constantly reminded that the work of a critic is not to pass judgment and make recommendations, but rather to be the mediator between the art and the audience. Critics exist to open up dialogue, not to end it. Therefore, assignments will be open to alternative, out-of-the box solutions, not focused on spending nights stressed out about a deadline — although the opportunity to turn work around quickly will be available to those who want it. Although participants are taught real-world strategies and encouraged to think in a creative way, during the IBPOC Critics Lab they will feel able and comfortable to play around and experiment. Aside from the last pieces, completing assignments is encouraged but not obligatory.

The IBPOC Critics Lab takes place weekly over Zoom in June and early July 2023 (exact dates and times to be determined with the group), and the residential session will be in the first week of July 2023. 

Participants will receive a $500 honorarium for participation in the Lab, and travel, accommodation, food, and theatre ticket costs for the residential portion will be covered by the Lab.

How to Apply: 

Please fill out the form (linked below) by April 7, 2023 at 11:59 PM EST.

Application Deadline: April 7, 2023 at 11:59 PM EST.

All applicants will be informed of decisions by the end of April.

Please contact Karen Fricker at with any questions about the Lab.

Photo by Joseph Rodriguez

Jose Solís (pictured left) began his career as a critic at age sixteen when he launched a film review website while living in Honduras, where he was born. He began writing about theatre while attending college in Costa Rica, and upon moving to NYC in 2012 focused entirely on the stage. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Toronto Star, The Washington Post, American Theatre, TDF Stages, The National Catholic Reporter, Encore Monthly, Backstage, Rotten Tomatoes, 3Views, and America Magazine. He is also the creator of Token Theatre Friends, a weekly web series/podcast where he talks to some of the most influential theatre artists working today.

In 2020 he was selected as the Floria Lasky Visiting Artist at Hunter College in New York City, where he hosted the Wed@One series. The same year he started the BIPOC Critics Lab, a workshop to train the cultural critics of the future.

He is currently based in Madrid, Spain, where he’s completing a master’s program in Cultural Criticism and Theory at the Universidad Carlos III. Jose discusses the BIPOC Critics Lab in American Theatre here.


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