Ring up the curtain

The Critics Circle

Drama

An Introduction to the Drama Section

Chair: Mark Shenton
Hon Secretary: William Russell -

Contact for matters about the Drama section: williamfinland@gmail.com

The founder members of the Circle were mostly drama critics who decided, most being freelancers, that in unity lay strength and decided in 2013 under the auspices of the Institute of Journalists to set up this organisation. SR Littlewood (Daily Chronicle), JT Grein (who first brought Ibsen’s Ghosts to London in 1891) and John Parker (the 1913 editor of Who’s Who in the Theatre) arranged the first general meeting in the Hall of the Institute of Journalists when Grein took to the stage and said – “Well, gentlemen, here we are! Let us do something. I propose that we begin by electing William Archer to the chair.” Archer, who translated the plays of Ibsen,  a leading critic of the day, duly became president with Littlewood as Honorary Secretary to be succeeded in 1925 by Parker, who remained in that office until his death in 1952. their very first business, and something which still matters today, was about the problems of getting review tickets from promoters.

Drama critics who have been president of the Critics’ Circle include St John Ervine (1929), Ivor Brown (1934), James Agate (1938), Sir Harold Hobson (1955), Philip Hope-Wallace (1958), JC Trewin (1964), Jack Tinker (1992-94), Jane Edwardes (2000-2002) and Charles Spencer (2008-10). The current chair of the section is Mark Shenton of The Stage.

The section's Theatre Awards were set up in 1989 after much debate about whether critics should make awards. That debate is over and now all sections do so, and the Circle as a whole presents an annual award for Services to the Arts in Britain. Since 1996 the Theatre Awards have included the Jack Tinker Award for Most Promising Newcomer - Tinker was a much loved critic for the Daily Mail. In 2001 a new award was instituted in memory of the husband and wife critical partnership of John and Wendy Trewin which took  the form of a medal for the Best Shakespearean Performance of the year. In 2016, after the death of their son Ion Trewin, it was renamed the Trewin Medal. In 2016, the award for best new or revived musical, which until 1994 had been the award for best new musical, was renamed the Peter Hepple Award for Best Musical in honour of the late Peter Hepple's outstanding contribution to the Critics' Circle of which he was hon gen secretary for many years.

 

The section is also affiliated to the International Association of Theatre Critics, a body with similar aims on an international scale. The IATC holds a congress every two years. Details of IATC aims and activities can be found at www.aict-iatc.org

Members of the Drama Section 2016

David Adams, Michael Arditti, Jeremy Austin, Tim Bano, Kate Bassett, David Benedict, Raymond V Bennett, Gerald Berkowitz, Clare Brennan, Mary Brennan, Georgina Brown, Mark Brown, Robert Butler, Paul Callan, Dominic Cavendish, David Chadderton, Ned Chaillet, James Christopher, Susannah Clapp, Nigel Cliff, Mark Cook, Maddy Costa, Steve Cramer, Nick Curtis, Michael Darvell, Robert Dawson Scott, Nicholas de Jongh, Rod Dungate, Jane Edwardes, Simon Edge, Susan Elkin, John Elsom, Vera Elyashev, D.L. Evans, Mark Fisher, Philip Fisher, Karen Fricker, Roger Foss, Lyn Gardner, Sharon Garfinkel, Jonathan Gibbs, Thelma Good, Robert Gore- Langton, Bill Hagerty, Rachel Haliburton, Robert Hanks, Andrew Haydon, Saeah Hemming, Ian Herbert, Robert Hewison,Henry Hitchings, Alan Hulme, James Inverne, Emma John, Ian Johns, Oliver Jones, Jeremy Kingston, Ruth Leon, Paul Levy, Brian Logan, Catherine Love, Lizzie Loveridge, Howard Loxton, Kate Maltby, Sam Marlowe, Patrick Marmion, Diana Damian Martin, Dominix Maxwell, Caroline McGinn, Joyce McMillan, Fiona Mountford, Siobhan Murphy, John Nathan, Heather Neill, Benedict Nightingale, Kevin O'Sullivan, Terri Paddock, Michael Parker, Phil Penfold, John Peter, Lucy Powell, Stewart Pringle, Kieron Quirke, David Roper, William Russell, Alice Saville, Adam Scott, Victoria Segal, Mark Shenton, Robert Shore, Ian Shuttleworth, Aleks Sierz, Neil Smith, Nick Smurthwaite, Charles Spencer, Siobhan Synnot, Maxie Szalwinska, Robert Tanitch, Paul Taylor, Matt Trueman, Tom Wicker, Holly Williams, Lyndsey Winship, Matt Wolf, Toby Young.

Honorary Members

Michael Billington, Michael Coveney, Clive Hirschhorn, Herbert Kretzmer, Jack Lewis, Blanche Marvin, Garry O'Connor, Peter Roberts, John Russell Taylor, Irving Wardle.


In this Section


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The 2016 Critics' Circle Theatre Awards

William Russell

Published: 01/02/2017

The Critics Circle

IATC

Published: 04/11/2016

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Talking Turkey

IATC condemnation
William Russell

Published: 03/11/2016

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IATC 60th Anniversary Congress

Held in Belgrade in September 2016
Mark Brown and Natasha Tripney report

Published: 05/10/2016

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Eating people are wrong.

Bad behavior

Published: 14/07/2016

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A sparkling Ruby

Thema Ruby returns
William Russell

Published: 12/07/2016

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Summer in the open air

Defy the weather
William Russell

Published: 06/07/2016

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More Changes on the London Fringe

Darker and Sylvestre retire
William Russell

Published: 19/06/2016

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Farewell to the Landor

After 21 years of musical delights
William Russell

Published: 17/06/2016

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State of the Union

Brand new premises
William Russell

Published: 05/06/2016

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Stealing a march

Gay's not quite the word
William Russell

Published: 09/05/2016

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A Close run thing

Rights and wrongs.
William Russell

Published: 25/04/2016

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Faces of a star

With one look - the prime of Dame Maggie Smith.
William Russell - Photographs by Elliott Franks

Published: 01/04/2016

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Musical movements

Things are changing at the Union in Southwark and at Charing Cross Theatre
William Russell

Published: 08/03/2016

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Winners of the 2015 Theatre Awards

William Russell

Published: 28/01/2016

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The Critics' Circle Theatre Awards

Published: 02/01/2016

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Pantomimes

Their demise was reported but they are alive and well

Published: 20/12/2015

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Lets hear it for the Front of House

Published: 10/12/2015

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Moving On

The changing face of London landmarks
Dangle and Sneer

Published: 01/12/2015

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Funny girls

and press releases
Dangle and Sneer

Published: 30/11/2015

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All Change at the Stage

Some harsh words on awards
William Russell

Published: 25/11/2015

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Advice for aspiring critics

The world of the web
Dangle and Sneer

Published: 14/11/2015

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British Values should be preserved

The curse of the standing ovation
William Russell

Published: 13/10/2015

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Critics' Circle Awards 2014

Mike Bartlett, Mark Strong and Helen McCrory triumph
Jane Edwardes

Published: 30/01/2015

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Report on IATC Congress

Beijing 2014
Mark Brown

Published: 16/11/2014

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Anthony Curtis

Published: 04/08/2014

The Critics Circle

Anthony Curtis

Published: 03/08/2014

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Theatre Awards 2013

Photgraphs of some of the winners.

Published: 11/02/2014

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Arthur in the Afternoon

Smith in silver lame

Published: 02/02/2014

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Critics' Circle Theatre Awards 2013

25th anniversary
Jane Edwardes

Published: 01/02/2014

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Critical Highlights from the Past

Some award-winning favourites

Published: 01/02/2014

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A Letter from the President of the IATC

Centenary Congratulations
Yun-Cheol Kim

Published: 25/11/2013

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100 Years of Criticism: Key Changes

Uncertain times in the world of criticism
Jane Edwardes

Published: 29/09/2013

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The Drama section's Critics' Circle Centenary Conference

100 Year of Criticism: Key Changes/Booking is now Open
William Russell

Published: 26/07/2013

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The Critics' Circle Theatre Awards 2012

Young Vic is the big winner (Shakespeare's Globe does well too)
Jane Edwardes

Published: 16/01/2013

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Critics' Circle Theatre Awards 2012

Winners will be announced on Tuesday Jan 15
Jane Edwardes

Published: 09/01/2013

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Critical Stages seeks sponsors

Highly-regarded webjournal is looking for funds
Mark Brown

Published: 22/09/2012

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Critics' Awards for Theatre in Scotland

Winners announced at ceremony in Glasgow
Mark Brown

Published: 12/06/2012

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IATC report

News from the recent congress in Warsaw
Mark Brown

Published: 15/05/2012

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Critics' Awards for Theatre in Scotland

Shortlists announced
Mark Brown

Published: 15/05/2012

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The Critics' Circle Theatre Awards 2011

Winners declared
Jane Edwardes

Published: 24/01/2012

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The 2011 Critics' Circle Theatre Awards

Winners will be announced on Tuesday 24th January
Jane Edwardes

Published: 08/01/2012

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International Association of Theatre Critics Supports Robert Sturua

A report from Tbilisi
Mark Brown

Published: 03/10/2011

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Three Perfect Things

Or Two Plus One
William Russell

Published: 21/08/2011

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European Theatre Prize continued

A report on events in St Petersburg
Jane Edwardes

Published: 26/04/2011

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European Theatre Prize

Critics gather for this year's event
Ian Herbert

Published: 03/04/2011

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Franco Quadri

Influential Italian critic and publisher
Ian Herbert

Published: 03/04/2011

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What Next?

A conference has been held to debate the future of funding for the arts at the Young Vic
Jane Edwardes

Published: 25/03/2011

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The Critics' Circle Theatre Awards 2010

Winners announced
Jane Edwardes

Published: 25/01/2011

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The Critics' Circle Theatre Awards

Tuesday January 25 2011
Jane Edwardes

Published: 14/01/2011

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John Gross

Distinguished theatre and literary critic dies at 75
Benedict Nightingale

Published: 14/01/2011

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Members of the Drama Section

Including Honorary Members

Published: 06/01/2010

CONTACT

Enquiries about the Critics' Circle should be made to the Hon Gen Sec Rick Jones by email criticscircleallsections@gmail.com or telephone 020 8698 2460.