Pressen på teatern: Teaterkritik i Stockholms dagspress 1890-1941

Teaterkritik är en viktig källa i forskningen för dokumentation av olika uppsättningar. Däremot är det sällsynt att kritiken i sig blir undersökt. I Curt Isakssons akademiska avhandling riktas uppmärksamheten mot recensenterna och deras verksamhet. Kritik under ett halvsekel, åren 1890-1941, har blivit kartlagd. Med hjälp av 1 000 artiklar avtecknar sig en bild av kritiken i fem stockholmstidningar. Recensionerna placeras in i det kraftfält som skapas av pressens och teaterns värld, för att det omfattande materialet ska kunna tolkas. Teaterlivets granskare blir granskade.

Curt Isaksson examines in this Ph.D. dissertation the theatre critic in Stockholm’s daily press. Five daily newspapers form an integral part of this study: Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet, Stockholm-Tidningen, Socialdemokraten and Aftonbladet. More than 1 000 reviews have been analysed beginning from the theatre year 1890-91, followed by the season 1900-01 and so on and continuing up to the year 1940-42. The intention is that more general conditions within the activity of reviewing should be able to be discerned, which are not associated with any individual reviewers or any specific theatre.

The theatrical repertoire in Stockholm increased during the 20th century, the close relationship between the theatre ensembles and their audiences began to break up, and at the same time, the different productions become more unique. They became artistic products which can be analysed and interpreted. These changes resulted in the theatre-interested public having a greater need for a supervisor who could inform them about the latest theatre events.

Also, during this period, the press gained a stronger position in society in general. Circulations of the daily press increased, the journalistic profession’s reputation improved and worker’s in newspapers began working more intensively in order to be able to report about the latest events. Many of the members of the critic’s profession had a broad general journalistic background and the reviewers were influenced by developments within the newspaper world.

The analysis of the reviews reveals that the size of individual reviews increases and that the critics wrote increasingly about the theatrical stagings, its atmosphere, and, above all, the actors’ role presentations. The critics tried to analyse the specific productions as a whole and at the end of the differtation’s scope of time, the work of the director was also included in the reviews – analysed and assessed.

Generally speaking, critics adopted a positive attitude in their evaluations during the entire time scope of the dissertation. It is above all the actors who often receive praise for their role presentations.

The increased size of reviews as well as the tendency to increasingly inform about role creation fit in well with the changes within theatre and press where the need for a supervisor grows and where journalists become more effective in their professional practices.