What happens when a small community loses its arts coverage?

The decision by Hobart's The Mercury to axe all theatre, dance, and music criticism in its pages has alarmed the city's arts sector.

A few weeks ago – with pen and notebook in hand – I trotted down to the Federation Concert Hall to see a performance by the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.

I was attending as a critic for a national arts publication, and I’d expected the predictable pleasure of greeting a fellow critic writing for Hobart’s major daily newspaper, the Mercury.

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Stephanie Eslake
About the Author
Stephanie Eslake is a Hobart journalist who writes arts criticism for national publications, one of which is Limelight Magazine. In 2017, she was named Hobart’s Young Citizen of the Year, and won the inaugural Kill Your Darlings New Critic Award. In 2018, she won the Tasmanian Young Achiever of the Year Award (Arts). The former Mercury staff writer now works in higher education as a tutor and course content creator. She also volunteers her time to run Australia’s classical music publication CutCommon as its founding editor.  CutCommon was named one of the top 10 classical music projects in the world when it was shortlisted for the Classical:NEXT 2017 Innovation Award.