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The Criterion Theatre

Latest Update from Artistic Director

5th August

COVID restrictions still place severe constraints on us as a theatre. At the moment, the regulations allowing live performances with social distancing (currently paused) only apply to professional theatres and not to us as a non-professional/amateur company.

So, at the moment we are working within a dual strategy to:

Our aim is to be as flexible around what we are able to do, enabling us to react easily to the quick-changing context of the COVID situation. While we can set out a planned programme as best we can, we know that it may need to change at short notice.

Please be assured that the health and safety of our volunteers, members and audience lie at the heart of all that we do.

Our current planned artistic programme for the next 4 months looks like this:

Play Readings

After a month’s hiatus, from September we will resume the regular play readings which have been so successful during lockdown. Some of these will be conducted virtually by Zoom, and some of these will hopefully involve small groups of individuals face-to-face, utilising outdoor space at the theatre to accommodate social distancing. Look out for information about these in late August.

Online plays and performances produced during Lockdown

Some Company members have been involved in developing online performances which we hope to be able to broadcast in late August/early September. Look out for publicity information about these in a couple of weeks.

Post-Lockdown Productions

We are now applying for rights to plays to produce in late September to December 2020. Under the current regulations, these plays can only be produced online (some live broadcasts and some recorded and broadcast), but at the moment, we are still working towards our ideal that these can be produced as live performances under strict social distancing conditions. We are ready to adapt to whatever we are able to do - produce something wonderful in an online form, or if regulations allow, our intention is that we should be able to shift these plays to live performance on the stage at relatively short notice.

At the moment I am pleased to be able to announce the first of these plays.

Queers: Eight Monologues: Information and Audition Notice

In the last week of September/first week of October (exact date to be confirmed): we will be producing Queers-Eight Monologues directed by Gennie Holmes. This is a wonderful collection of beautifully-written monologues, all by different writers, which celebrates a century of evolving social attitudes and political milestones in British LGBTQI+ history, as seen through the eyes of eight individuals. They were curated by Mark Gatiss and broadcast on BBC Four in 2017 and also staged at The Old Vic in London.

Poignant and personal, funny, tragic and riotous, these eight monologues for male and female performers cover major events – such as the Wolfenden Report of 1957, the HIV/AIDS crisis, and the debate over the age of consent – through deeply affecting and personal rites-of-passage stories. 

The monologues will be rehearsed under social distancing conditions and the either or both produced live on stage under social distancing or broadcast online. 

The play is for 8 actors. Flexible casting re genders, age and race/ethnicity. 

Auditions will take place by Zoom on Wednesday August 12th from 8pm and Sunday August 16th from 2pm. Check out the website link for details.

There will be announcements of further plays very soon as rights are confirmed, but at the moment we are looking to produce two more one person/two person shows in October and November, and are still holding out hope that we can reprise Lovesong in December, the production run of which was cut short after only two nights due to COVID.

Thank you for your continued support of our wonderful Criterion Theatre at this time.

Anne-marie Greene