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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 2022.  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 at 7:30pm.  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 humour. 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 exciting viewing. 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
24th September
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 the Company. 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                   817 People reached 195 Engagements Boost post   2727 5 comments 2 shares   Like       Comment     Share    
24th September
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 Criterion! 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 family. Thanks to Dik Thacker for technical support and to Rod Wilkinson for getting us involved.  
11th June
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 home.     John Ruscoe about his time at the theatre, including his fondest productions, and the balance involved in producing high-quality amateur theatre.  
25th April
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 reflection. 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 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. Anne-marie Greene Artistic Director
29th March

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Oct 30th to Nov 6th 2021
Victor Gialanella adapted from the novel by Mary Shelley

It is Halloween season and here is a staging of one of the classic monster stories. This production isn't a rehash of Boris Karloff's Universal Studios version, but a direct adaptation of Mary Shelley's Gothic novel for the stage. Victor Gialanella, the playwright, first brought this version to Broadway in 1981  and his adaptation of this classic tale of horror and suspense details the ill-fated experiments of Dr. Frankenstein as he attempts to fathom the secrets of life and death. Purchasing cadavers from unsavoury grave robbers, he gives life to a creature which is both powerful and terrifying, yet touchingly innocent... but there is a high price to be paid for attempting to play God.

Reviews of the play

"At its core, FRANKENSTEIN has never been horror, but Shakespearian tragedy - the man who knows too much and has too few ethics, the being with too little knowledge but gargantuan feelings without the words to convey them, and the people around them forced to suffer from their poor choices. It's a tale more unsettling than anything else, and... feeling unsettled may be the scariest feeling of all. If you can leave this production of FRANKENSTEIN without having questions in your mind about humanity and responsibility, you haven't been paying attention. FRANKENSTEIN, like Halloween itself, is much more than thrills and chills. See this production, and face your fears." Marakay Rogers, Broadway World 2017.

"Gialanella, just like Shelley, makes Frankenstein's creation the character with the most layers and growth... it's hard to believe that you can actually feel compassion for someone who kills,'s easy to feel a deep sympathy for this lost soul who didn't ask to be born." Gil Benbrook,

This amateur production is presented by arrangement with Josef Weinberger Ltd.


EDI Information
In line with our EDI policy, we undertake an EDI impact assessment of all our artistic programming. 'Frankenstein' by Victor Gialanella has no specific diversity message within its narrative. The play can be cast with complete neutrality on gender and race/ethnicity.


Anniversary Celebrations 2021

Criterion at night

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are still working within a certain level of uncertainty but are gradually moving towards business as usual, so do keep a regular eye here on the website for updates to our activities happening over the next few months. 

February 2021-February 2022 is the 60th anniversary of the Criterion Theatre opening so there will be a number of events celebrating our past and looking to the future.  

Why not check out the wonderful interviews conducted so far with members reflecting on their favourite memories and stories about the Criterion over the last 60 years in our Criterion Memories project.


Coming Soon

Janice Okoh
Main House
Jan 29th to Feb 5th
Jim Cartwight
Main House
Mar 12th to 19th
Friedrich Schiller adapted by Peter Oswald
Main House
May 7th to 14th
David Greig & Gordon McIntyre
Main House
Jul 2nd to 9th

Just Finished

Glen Berger
Main House
Aug 28th to Sep 4th
Curated by Mark Gatiss
Criterion On Tour
July 18th
Katy Brand
Main House
Jun 26th to Jul 3rd
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