Please note the change of date.
Do come and join us for the open reading of Two by Jim Cartwright,
directed by Helen Withers, which will be produced March 12th-19th
Our open readings are an opportunity to hear the play in a relaxed and
informal environment. Parts are split between the people who come
along and we chop and change so that everyone who wants to read is
able to. If you are thinking about auditioning, or just like to hear
a play read aloud, then do come along. You can choose to take part in
the reading, or just listen.
The reading will take place in the theatre bar on Tuesday November 9th
If you have any queries then please email
In the Bar
9th November from 19:30 to 22:00
We are really pleased to announce the shows that will form the first
half of our 2022 Season of Productions:
THE GIFT BY JANICE OKOH
JANUARY 29TH TO FEBRUARY 5TH 2022
Directed by Christine Ingall
The gift of the title is a young black African girl rescued from
native captors, brought to England and given to Queen Victoria. The
Queen adopts her and names her Sarah, who is raised as the ward of a
series of trusted guardians within royal circles. We meet Sarah at her
Brighton home in 1862, on the eve of her departure for Africa with her
businessman husband James. She is expecting a visit from her guardian
Mrs Schoen, who brings unexpected and undesirable guests to tea.
In the present day, a middle class black British couple, Sarah an
engineer and James an antique dealer, have recently moved to a
Cheshire village with their adopted daughter. Sarah and James are
discussing her coming to terms with a new project management job in
Nigeria, when the doorbell rings. Neighbours Harriet and Ben have
brought a “settling in” gift of homemade muffins. They stay for
tea with surprising, shocking and hilarious results.
When the two Sarahs take tea with Queen Victoria the consequences are
more than two of them could have imagined.
Casting: 4-6W 2-4M
TWO BY JIM CARTWRIGHT
MARCH 12TH TO 19TH 2022
Directed by Helen Withers
14 different characters. 2 actors. 1 night. The local pub.
Meet your Landlord and Landlady as they guide you through an evening
of antics at your local. As the lager continues to flow, the customers
just keep coming in. Each vignette skillfully combines pathos and
Casting: 1W, 1M
MARY STUART BY PETER SCHILLER ADAPTED BY PETER OSWALD
MAY 7TH TO 14TH 2022
Directed by Hugh Sorrill
Schiller's play pits Mary, Queen of Scots against her rival Queen
Elizabeth I in their full glory. The meeting never really happened but
Schiller's Mary redeems her youthful crimes through an ordeal that
lifts her into realms of spiritual serenity, while Elizabeth descends
deeper into rage, revenge and deception. Oswald has written this
striking new version in a mixture of prose and poetry making for
Casting: 4W, 10M_
MIDSUMMER BY DAVID GREIG/GORDON MCINTYRE
JULY 2ND TO THE 9TH 2022
Directed by Peter Gillam
A midsummer weekend in Edinburgh. It's raining. Bob's a failing car
salesman on the fringes of the city's underworld. Helena's a
high-powered divorce lawyer with a taste for other people's husbands.
She's totally out of his league; he's not her type at all. They
absolutely should not sleep together. Which is, of course, why they
do. A wonderful, comic tale of falling in love when you least expect
it. A play where the two actors also play and sing original music in
an extravaganza of playfulness, wit, colour, sound and song.
Casting: 1W, 1M
Thanks to all Company members who took part in the AGM on Wednesday
22nd September either in person or online.
We also celebrated those members who’ve been particularly super
during a very challenging year so congratulations to:
Charlotte Rawson - Anthony Herbert Award: For significant contribution
to the Theatre’s activities in any capacity by a younger member of
Steve Brown - Charles H Smith Award: For significant contribution to
the Theatre’s activities by a member of the Company.
Becky Bartlett - Louise Bagley Award for design
Jon Elves - Criterion Award for artistic excellence
Well done to all
The Criterion Board
Our friends at the Talisman Theatre have been running a weekly series
of short plays "Tea with the Tali".
This weeks audio play is a "touring production" by members of the
So, why not grab a cuppa and sit back to enjoy this week’s Tea with
the Tali play.
‘DINNER’ BY PAUL SMITH - A young man wakes to find himself tied to
a chair in the dining room of an elderly couple. How did he get there
and what will he do next?
Featuring Pete Gillam as Ernest, Anne-Marie Greene as Hilda and Paul
Forey as Jonnie.
Produced by Paul Forey and Pete Gillam.
Recorded at Warwick Avenue Studios, Earlsdon, Coventry.
Music: In Party Mood written by Jack Strachey, performed by The West
End Celebrity Orchestra.
If you enjoy the piece, please do share the link with friends and
Thanks to Dik Thacker for technical support and to Rod Wilkinson for
getting us involved.
Criterion President Keith Railton and Chairman Jon Elves talk about
the Criterion Memories project and some of their own memories.
Helen Withers talks through her (and family's) fondest memories of the
theatre and the production process.
Richard and Jill Warren share their memories about a range of topics
from nudity, bar productions and armed guards at a Criterion buffet!
Dave Brown had no intention of joining a theatre group in 1964 but
talks about the huge impact the Criterion had on his life, even after
leaving to settle in Canada in 1973.
Dave Cornish talks about the magic created in the tech box over the
past 45 years; from the creation of sound effects to missing cues
while preparing for the next show!
Becky Cribden and Paul Forey talk about their time at the theatre from
the younger generation's perspective. From unmemorable teachers in
drama classes, to finding each other (and a lot of friends along the
way) - and the odd sound box joke.
Jamie Firth talks to Gennie Holmes about her time at the theatre,
including the difficulties of getting served at the bar when everyone
knows your age, the thrill of period costumes in summer and the
benefit of being on stage with your husband when things go wrong!
Karl and Sylvia Stafford talk about their time at the theatre,
including making dresses, meeting at the theatre and trousers
splitting on stage (everyone's favourite theatre story!
Pete Bagley talks about the days of getting postcards through the
door, arguments about hobbyhorses and setting fires backstage.
Dave and Linda Holmes talk about their lives at the Criterion, with
tales of wardrobe, set building and after show parties.
* Apologies for the poor sound quality on the film.
Ian Knight talks about his "spiritual home", the development of
technology in productions and falling through roofs.
Olivia Holmes and Pete Meredith about growing up within the theatre,
learning life lessons and the sweat involved in firing guns on time!
Mark Wiszowaty about his happiest moments at the theatre, including a
power cut that prevented a plague, and being booed at an old people's
John Ruscoe about his time at the theatre, including his fondest
productions, and the balance involved in producing high-quality
The Covid lockdown has provided an opportunity to reflect on a
number of issues, and one of these has been our position and policy on
equality, diversity and inclusion at the Criterion. We have always
prided ourselves on the way in which we aim to be open and welcoming
to everyone who comes through our doors. However, the recent demand
for change, born of George Floyd’s murder and the wider Black Lives
Matter movement has provided a particular catalyst for serious
As a Board of Trustees, we have therefore worked to put together an
Anti-Racism Reflective Statement [/../../edi/blacklivesmatter] that
sets out our position and is not only a provocation to ourselves, but
also a set of aspirations and a call to action to make real change and
progress on equality, diversity and inclusion within our theatre.
Accompanying this, we have taken the opportunity to update our
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy Statement
[/../../edi/edi-policy]. We think it is important to proudly state
our position, what we currently do, and what we plan to do to make
improvements in the future around EDI .
In order to move this agenda forward, we have produced a 2020-21 EDI
Action plan [/../../../edi/edi-action-plan] which will include
positive targets and review points and will be a subject of discussion
at our Company AGM in September. We are asking all our members,
volunteers and stakeholders to sign up to an ethos of equality,
diversity and inclusion, and to commit to furthering diversity within
our company and beyond it into the wider theatre and arts arena. We
have also set up an EDI working group, and would welcome contact from
any individual who feels they would like to be a part of this to
email@example.com. We are also pleased to be
involved in consultation with the Diversity in Theatre Group set up
recently involving members from local amateur theatres.
In the uncertain times ahead, we can look to move forward in a way
that is driven by a core aspiration for the Criterion Theatre to be a
demonstrable place of opportunity for all with diverse and brilliant
plays on stage and inclusive company and membership.
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