National Critics Association Has First Alt-Weekly Leader

CityBeat Arts Editor Rick Pender named chair of American Theatre Critics Association

CityBeat Arts and Entertainment Editor Rick Pender was installed June 5 as chairman of the American Theatre Critics Association (ACTA). He’s the first alternative weekly staff member to head the organization in its 30-year history.

In addition to his editing and management duties, Pender is CityBeat’s lead theater critic. One of the companies he covers is Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, which recently won the prestigious Regional Theatre Tony Award.

Pender has served as CityBeat’s arts and entertainment editor since 1998 and has been covering and reviewing local theater for CityBeat and other publications for almost 15 years. He was named Best Critic in Ohio in 2002 by the Society of Professional Journalists.

ATCA consists of more than 250 theater critics from media across the country, including newspapers, magazines, industry-related Web sites and radio and television stations. Founded in 1974, the association strives to raise the standards of theater criticism and promote a greater public understanding of critics’ functions and responsibilities. ATCA is a section of the International Association of Theatre Critics, which sponsors seminars and congresses worldwide.