In the Bar
18th August from 20:00 to 21:00
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.
A warm hello to you all,
As I write, social media is filled with reports, posts and videos
relating to the long-awaited official start of the City of Culture
2021, with the ‘Coventry Moves’ procession on Saturday kicking off
the year-long festivities. At the Criterion, we are so pleased that we
are able to plan to open our doors again after the long Covid lockdown
and make our own special contribution to the cultural and artistic
community of Coventry.
All through lockdown, we have been creatively busy with online shows
and Zoom play readings, but there is nothing quite like live theatre
and we are looking forward to welcoming you back through our creaky
front doors. And I have so many exciting things to let you know about
that are happening over the next couple of months…
‘3WOMEN’ BY KATY BRAND - SATURDAY 26TH JUNE TO SATURDAY JULY 3RD.
Our first post-lockdown live production is a wonderfully funny and
heart-warming story written by comedian Katy Brand and directed by
Bill Butler, who knows a thing or two about directing a great comedy
(Wind in the Willows, Accidental Death of An Anarchist, Reduced
Shakespeare). It has been such a pleasure to see a set being built;
props, costume and tech meetings happening; and of course rehearsals
back on our stage. We also have the honour of this being the amateur
premiere of the play.
Set over the course of one night, the play sees three generations of
women from the same family discuss life, love and food along with some
21st century gender debate thrown in for good measure.
In order to ease us all back into live theatre after Covid, the play
will be performed to a 50% audience capacity, allowing us to keep some
reassuring measures of social distancing in place, and protect us
against any changes to the government roadmap that might occur. The
Criterion is as Covid-secure as is humanly possible, and we are
ensuring that we are exceeding all regulatory requirements by not
moving too fast back to ‘normal’ business as usual. There will
also be an additional online streamed version of a recording of the
first night performance available for 24 hours on 17th July.
So, please get your tickets now and support your theatre coming out of
lockdown. Given the reduced capacity, they will sell fast and we do
not want anyone to be disappointed. Tickets available to purchase on
our website www.criteriontheatre.co.uk
[http://www.criteriontheatre.co.uk] along with information about the
play and our Covid safety measures.
QUEERS: THE REVIVAL – THE CRITERION ON TOUR AT THE ALBANY THEATRE,
SUNDAY JULY 18TH.
In celebration of the City of Culture, the National Drama Festivals
Association (NDFA) is holding their week-long British All-Winners
Festival at The Albany Theatre. The festival is a celebration of the
very best of amateur drama from around the country and features 14
plays across seven nights from Sunday July 18th to Saturday 24th July.
The Criterion is honoured to have been asked to reprise our September
2020 sell-out production of ‘Queers’ curated by Mark Gatiss,
providing the opening night of the festival.
Please do come and support the Criterion Theatre as we promote our
work in a different venue. As we only played to a very small
socially-distanced audience last year, we know that many people were
unable to get tickets. Here is another chance so see this wonderful
collection of beautifully-written monologues, all by different
writers, celebrating a century of evolving social attitudes and
political milestones in British LGBTQI+ history. Tickets can be
purchased from the ‘Queers’ link on our website, or directly with
the Albany Theatre https://www.albanytheatre.co.uk/ndfa-18/ .
In addition, do come along to the festival for what is going to be a
very exciting week of theatre and an amazing thing to have happening
just on our doorstep. The festival includes a mixture of one act and
full length plays in the evenings and workshops in the day including
Voice Coaching and Stage Combat with the RSC and a Les Miserables
Masterclass with West End star and Coventrian David Willetts. Details
of all the plays and ticket purchases including discounts for multiple
bookings at https://www.albanytheatre.co.uk/shows/ndfa/
THE CRITERION REPRESENTS AT THE DRAMA FESTIVALS CONFERENCE SATURDAY
I have the great pleasure of representing the Criterion Theatre and
leading the morning session of the Drama Festivals Conference on
Saturday 24th July at the Albany Theatre. This year, the conference
theme is ‘Diversity and Inclusion’, and it gives me a chance to
draw on some of my professional life outside of the Criterion in my
job as Professor of Work, Employment and Diversity at the University
of Leicester. I will be joined in the session by Alexander Mushore who
is now an RSC professional actor, but as many of you will remember
started his acting career at the Criterion (Three Angels, Proof, Who
Killed Liberty Vallance), and by Georgia Kelly and Leigh Bartlam from
the cast of Queers. The afternoon session will be led by Ian
Wainwright from the RSC and Penny Amis from Side By Side Theatre (a
company who works with children and adults with learning
disabilities). It should be a great day and a real opportunity for
some honest and open discussions about how we can look to improve
diversity and inclusion in our amateur theatres. The conference is
open to anyone and tickets (which include a Royal Bengal lunch) can be
purchased by emailing email@example.com who will then send
you all the registration information.
UNDERNEATH THE LINTEL BY GLEN BERGER - SATURDAY 28TH AUGUST TO
SATURDAY 4TH SEPTEMBER. We end the summer in style with a fabulous
one-man show, directed by the masterful Richard Warren (It’s A
Wonderful Life,Steady Rain, Flarepath) and starring our very own
Chair, Jon Elves. This play is sure to delight and fascinate, being a
modern fable, neatly wrapped in a detective story. Our protagonist is
a librarian in a small Dutch town and one day a book is returned
anonymously, 113 years late. Who brought it back - and why? All the
librarian has to go on is a clue scribbled in a margin, and an
unclaimed dry-cleaning ticket. How does he solve this mystery? And how
does it change his life? It's a beautiful, funny, moving piece of
storytelling. We are waiting to see how the Covid roadmap pans out
before we decide on audience capacity so tickets will be on sale as
soon as possible, but do stick the date in your diary now!
THE CRITERION THEATRE ON COVENTRY DIGITAL
We are so pleased to be part of a City of Culture collaboration with
Coventry University in the launch of Coventry Digital. This is an
online archive of photos, videos, maps and documents that are designed
to celebrate the city’s heritage. The Criterion has a special place
in the collection with its own gallery, and there you can see around
500 photographs from our archive stretching across our 60 years. Go to
www.coventry.digital/groups [http://www.coventry.digital/groups] and
scroll to our gallery. Thanks to our President Keith Railton and to
our Webmaster Pete Gillam for working so hard to make sure we could be
a part of this fantastic cultural resource.
Not bad for the first couple of months out of lockdown eh? Please do
buy tickets and come along and support our productions and keep an eye
on the website for new events and happenings. We’ve got lots planned
for the rest of our 60th anniversary year, and we are also busy
planning for our 2022 season, announcements of which will come soon.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me on
firstname.lastname@example.org about anything to do with the
artistic activities at the theatre-I’d love to hear from you,
With all creative dust,
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.
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.
Over the past 60 years, there have been hundreds of performances at
the Criterion's Berkley Road home. Whilst the Theatre's archive has
kept a record of these through pictures, reviews and programmes, the
one thing we've not been able to capture are the personal memories
from those involved in these productions.
In order to bring even more colour to this fantastic archive, we're
launching the "Criterion Memories" project. We would like to welcome
all performers, back stage crew, members, audiences and visitors to
regale us with fantastic tales of Criterion memories to help celebrate
the 60th Anniversary of the theatre.
So whether your memory is about a performance by an actor, an
interesting backstage story or rain pouring through the roof during a
rehearsal, all stories will help bring the archive to life;
documenting in one place, the rich history and joy that it has brought
to all those who've been involved in its journey.
You can find out more about the project, in the first of a series of
interviews set to take place over the next few months on our Youtube
channel [https://youtu.be/fl7uKCkZR0Y]. Jamie Firth, talks to
Criterion President Keith Railton and Chairman Jon Elves about the
project and some of their own memories. See all of the interviews as
they are updated here. [/../../../news/160]
So how can you contribute? The archive is available at the top of this
page or at www.criteriontheatre.co.uk/archive [/../../]. There is a
list of things that we are on the hunt for, such as poster artwork,
programmes etc which we currently don't have - these can be viewed
through the "Contributing" page.
Alternatively, choose the relevant play and select "My Memory" and
tell us your tale. You can add photos as well if you have any - these
could be of rehearsals, backstage or in the bar! Please try to keep in
mind that this is a family theatre; the administrators will be
checking all contributions!
We look forward to any contributions and creating an archive which
shows all the colour and enjoyment of being involved in a community
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