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Criterion Theatre

April Chat from the Chair
29th April

Hi all,

Well, it’s all hands on Deck at the moment! As usual, there is a lot going on, so I thought it a good time to give a quick overview of all that is happening.

A couple of weeks ago I was delighted to welcome the Deputy Mayor to the theatre for the official launch of ‘Who turned out the lights?’, the new audio book from the creative writing team at the Resource Centre for the Blind. I am very proud of the Theatres relationship and work with the Resource Centre, and this was a wonderful evening to launch this important collaboration that has taken a lot of hard work, creative talent, and effort to achieve.

The pieces, written by the creative writing team at the centre led by the lovely Jessica Eastman, voiced by three experienced Criterion actors under the direction of our own Richard Warren, and recorded by Media Mania, is the first of what we hope will be several collaborations between us all. Further details are on the Criterion website under ‘News’ or on the Resource centre website: Who Turned Out The Lights | Coventry Resource Centre For The Blind (

Our fantastic Customer Experience team and volunteers are busy preparing for May Day, with which we have timed the Springboard Festival week. May Day is always a good day for the theatre, and we will have all the usual events happening around the building, as well as showcasing and activities for Springboard. Obviously, this means a lot of work for all our members but especially the Customer experience team. There has never been a better opportunity to get involved and be a part of something special. Please do come along and support us or volunteer to help staff in what will be a very busy week.

This is the second Springboard festival, building on last year’s groundbreaking event, a week of one act plays, poetry, music, and art, bringing together amateur and professionals in one space, with in house company performances and community/Criterion collaborations alongside external artists, musicians and theatre companies, poetry workshops and art exhibitions, it looks to be a truly exciting and interesting week. The hard work and effort that goes into the planning, scheduling and delivery of this event is immense and I would like to say a huge thank you to everybody who has worked so hard. I would ask you all to support us by coming to see us one evening (or them all!) It promises to be very special. Tickets are available online now, along with details of each evening’s events.

 Talking of our hard-working Customer experience team, they have gone through some changes just recently, with Natalie Harrat having to step down from running the box office, as she and her family are relocating out of Coventry. Natalie has been a longstanding member of the theatre, previously sitting on the board as Finance Director, appearing in several shows and being a valued member of the Customer Experience team. On behalf of the board and the entire theatre I would like to say thank you to Natalie, you will be sorely missed. I would also like to thank Emma Padfield for stepping into Natalie's role and Helen McGowan for picking up the cleaning rota.

I’ll mention it again…The Customer experience team are always looking for willing volunteers to help, many hands make light work, if you think you could support us now or in the future please do get in touch.

You may have noticed our theatre looking a little better after some work to the frontage. This is the first stage, timed for May Day and the Springboard Festival, to improve the look of our theatre. You will see the original brickwork to the front has been revealed, repointed, and the woodwork repaired and painted. This has been completed in record time to hit our target and I must give a big thanks to Barabara Sowerby for being the driving force and to everyone involved with this achievement. This is not only the start of the work on the frontage, we are not finished yet,  but also some other major improvements around the place and is a small part of what has and is going on behind the scenes. I will be updating in detail on development, on a more regular basis, as we move forward. 

Finally, I would like to say thank you to everyone who is working so hard in and around the theatre in so many areas. It really is impossible to mention by name everyone who is going above and beyond to keep our wonderful theatre moving forward. You make the theatre the place it is. You know who you are, thank you all.

I hope to see you all soon, and please do not hesitate to get in touch with any questions or suggestions, 



Jon, April 28th 2024

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