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In the Bar
18th August from 20:00 to 21:00

News

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
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 JULY 24TH 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 derek.palmer1@btinternet.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 artisticdirector@criteriontheatre.co.uk about anything to do with the artistic activities at the theatre-I’d love to hear from you, With all creative dust, Anne-marie
8th 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.
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 artisticdirector@criteriontheatre.co.uk. 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
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 theatre.
22nd March

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Underneath The Lintel

WOULD YOU RECOGNISE A MIRACLE IF YOU SAW ONE?

Aug 28th to Sep 4th 2021
Glen Berger
We are in an half-empty theatre in 1986. A shy, middle-aged Dutch librarian has booked it, at his own expense, to tell an extraordinary story that he feels compelled to share.
 
It starts with the overnight return to his provincial library of a book that is 113 years overdue. Who returned it? Why is it so late? How can he make sure that the fine is paid? All he has to go on is a tattered bookmark: an unclaimed laundry ticket. Does he ignore it and go back to his quiet, sheltered life? Or does he follow it – wherever it may lead?
 
That's the opening premise of Glen Berger's 2001 one-man play, which has since travelled all over the world, to critical acclaim:
 
"The clues surface and mount, tease and taunt, and what might appear to be little more than a dull literary exploration becomes a dark and complex mystery that transcends the ages."Variety
 
".... one of a handful of great plays written in the last five years.... it's an astonishingly beautiful piece of writing...."Seattle Weekly
 
At the Criterion, Jon Elves is playing the Librarian. Director Richard Warren explains what drew them to the play:
Like its central character, the play isn't quite what it seems at first glance. It starts as a sort of detective story. But, as we follow our reluctant amateur detective through his “Impressive Presentation”, we find out a lot more than he sets out to tell us. I could say the play is philosophical: but that doesn't really do justice to the humanity of it – or the humour. There's plenty of that too.”
 
UNDERNEATH THE LINTEL is produced by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC www.broadwayplaypub.com 
 
In line with our new EDI policy, we undertake an EDI impact assessment of all our artistic programming. 'Underneath the Lintel' -The character of the librarian is Jewish and elderly and there could be flexibility around race/ethnicity. Has to be played as a male character. The story includes a theme of the consequences of anti-Semitic discrimination.

Anniversary Celebrations 2021

Criterion at night

Due to the continued Covid-19 restrictions, we are still working within a level of uncertainty but are working within the roadmap towards reopening the theatre so do keep a regular eye here on the website for updates to our activities happening over the next few months. 

2021 is the 60th anniversary of the Criterion Theatre opening so we are planning on having a year of amazing 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.

 

Just Finished

Curated by Mark Gatiss
Criterion On Tour
July 18th
Katy Brand
Main House
Jun 26th to Jul 3rd
Eugene Labiche adapted by Kenneth McLeish
Main House
February 25th
© 2021 Criterion Theatre Ltd
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