What is the UTBA?

The Utah Theater Bloggers Association is comprised of a group of theater patrons and professionals dedicated to the creation and support of theater in Utah.  We’re local theatre lovers and practitioners, just like you.

What are the goals of UTBA?

UTBA’s primary goal is to provide a forum for news, reviews, and opinions about Utah theatre.  Right now our mainstay is reviews of productions, but we also provide some non-review content to engage theatre audiences, professionals, educators, and practitioners in a meaningful way.

Who are the reviewers for UTBA?

UTBA reviewers are a diverse group of theatre lovers.  Most have some sort of formal training in theatre, but insightful audience members are also reviewers.

How many reviewers do you have?

We’re still adding reviewers, but we have approximately 40.  We plan to eventually have enough reviewers to write reviews about every locally produced show in the state.

Every show in the state?  Are you serious?

Yes.  Right now we’re concentrating on the Salt Lake, Utah, Davis, and Weber counties.  As we get more reviewers, we’ll expand to other areas of the state.

Can I be a reviewer?

If you meet the requirements listed on the Join Us page, you’re free to apply.  Send an email to membership@utahtheatrebloggers.com.

I want UTBA to review my show.  How do I do that?

Simply visit the Request a Reviewer page and fill out the form.  Please be aware that we expect UTBA reviewers to be provided with 2 complimentary tickets to your production, preferably on or near opening night.  Also be aware that we are more likely to be able to review your show if you give use plenty of notice (preferably at least two weeks).  We also encourage you to advertise your show on the site.  Email advertising@utahtheatrebloggers.com for more information.

What are the standards by which you judge a production?

We judge productions based on the highest realistic expectations for a show, given the circumstances of production.  For example, we hold Equity shows and university productions to extremely high standards, because they have larger budgets and sizable casting pools from which to draw their actors; those productions get our most qualified reviewers.  Amateur productions are given more leeway, because they have smaller budgets and often production staff with no professional training.  Because most children’s shows are more for the benefit of the child actors than the audience, we are kindest to those (and we don’t want to discourage young talent by being overly harsh in a public review).  To sum up, we judge a $3/ticket show by the standards of a $3 ticket, but a $20/ticket shows by the standards of a $20 ticket.  (“Is the audience getting their money’s worth?”)

Free tickets?  Advertising money?  How do I know that the reviewers will be fair in reviewing a show?

The free tickets are merely to ensure us that the theater is serious about the review.  It is also to help our reviewers with the financial burden of being a UTBA reviewer.  We don’t pay our reviewers for their time or transportation expenses, and any advertising money goes to site maintenance.

We also don’t permit any major non-financial conflicts of interest.  For example, reviewers cannot critique a show for UTBA if they are involved with the production. Reviewers also cannot be an employee or student of the producing organization.  We do not permit people to review a production that they auditioned for and were not cast in. If any of these situations apply to a reviewer’s family member or anyone they live with (e.g., roommate, landlord, partner), then the reviewer cannot write a UTBA review. We also ask interviewers to excuse themselves from an assignment if they are not able to review the show fairly for any reason that we’re not aware of.

How do you choose which reviewers attend a production?

Sometimes reviewers are handpicked for a production, based on their expertise and the quality of previous reviews.  Usually, though, we send out an email to all of our reviewers letting them know which productions are available for review and reviewers choose which productions they attend.  This semi-volunteer system usually means that reviewers are members of the audience that the production is aimed at.  We think that this match between reviewer and production encourages a fair review. We do not permit producing organizations to request a specific person to review their production.

How long does it take for a review to post?

We ask that reviewers submit their review for editing within 48 hours of a performance. Once it has been received by our editors, it generally goes to press within 12 hours. On occasion a review is held if an editor requests changes from the reviewer so that the review can meet UTBA’s high standards. Sometimes the whole process goes much more quickly and a review is published the afternoon following a performance. As a general rule, our goal is to publish a review within 2-3 days of a performance.

How do you choose which performance to review?

Although we prefer to attend a production on or near opening night, we come to the performance that we are invited to.  Some theaters like us to attend previews; others prefer later performances.  Occasionally, scheduling issues make it difficult or impossible for a reviewer to attend the performance that UTBA was invited to.  In such cases, we ask to attend a later performance, but never an earlier one.

What are the standards for your reviews?

We give reviewers a lot of leeway in writing a review, which maintains their individual opinions and voices as much as possible.  However, we do have some firm standards.  We do not allow personal attacks on actors or artistic/technical staff in reviews.  Reviewers must support their personal opinions with specific examples from the show and/or feedback.  We also ask reviewers to name the lead actors and director in a production (when possible) in order to give these artists the recognition they deserve.  Finally, reviews must be well written and engaging.

What kind of shows won’t you review?

UTBA will not review dance and ballet productions, opera, performance art, or remountings of productions we have reviewed in the past.  We also do not review productions that the cast paid to participate in. Other special types of performances — like staged readings, musical revues, improvised productions, and foreign language theatre — may be reviewed, depending on the circumstances and the availability of qualified reviewers.

Do you review student shows?

We believe that some of the most innovative theatre in Utah is happening on the campuses of the state’s universities.  Therefore, we review most university student shows as we would any other production.  Currently, we do not review high school productions.

Why do you review productions that only run for one night?

Even though a one-night production would close before our audience is able to read the review, we think that a review is nonetheless an important aspect of the show.  Reviews provide honest feedback to theatre artists and may help them with their next production.  Also, our audience may become aware of the type of short-term productions that certain groups produce.  This may cause them to try to attend the next production.

Can we use your review in our advertising materials?

Theaters, media outlets, and people affiliated with a production may use quotes from the review as long as the author and “utahtheatrebloggers.com” are cited as the source.  Each quote must be no more than 60 words long and the total amount of quoted material in any given press release, advertisement, or other material must be no more than 150 words.  To reprint an entire review or to quote more than 150 words, please contact us to make arrangements.  Links to reviews and other material on the UTBA site are always acceptable.

Why should I become a registered reader of UTBA?

Registered readership gives you access to aspects of UTBA that are unavailable to most readers.  These include ticket giveaways, discount codes for productions, and exclusive news that we do not release to the general site.  Registration is free and only requires an email address.