In this article, Tom Sellar, the editor of Theater for sixteen years, reflects on the five-decade legacy of the magazine. Sellar’s personal retrospective looks both backward and forward, from Theater’s polemical beginnings in the late 1960s and his own encounters with the magazine as a student in the 1980s to the political exigencies of the present day and the demands this moment makes on the future of theater and criticism. As Sellar writes, Theater’s early radical spirit has not left the magazine’s mission: “Part muse, part archive, part mirror, Theater has held tightly to … its permanent stance that the theater can provide a vessel for transformation, bringing altered consciousness and maybe a better society.” Tracing this history, Sellar illuminates how Theater, as a journal and a reflection of its object of inquiry, has responded to the evolving idea of a public — a sphere that has narrowed and expanded, fractured and recombined over the past half century.

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