The Critics’ Circle

Protecting and promoting cultural criticism since 1913

The Critics’ Circle believes impartial, professional criticism of the arts is an essential ingredient of a healthy society. The Circle today has 503 members shared between Theatre (117), Music (91), Film (151), Dance (57), Visual Arts (47) and Books (40). Admission to the Circle is by invitation from the Council.

Each year since 1988, the Circle has presented the Rosebowl for Distinguished Service to the Arts to an artist of conspicuous achievement. In 2019 the members voted for David Hockney and in 2020 for Dame Janet Baker.

The sections make their own awards in ceremonies which are significant social occasions, and hold periodic meetings and lunches to discuss their awards, propose new members, debate current issues and meet artists.

President: Suzi Feay
Vice-President: Robert Thicknesse
Hon. General Secretary: Rick Jones criticscircleallsections@gmail.com
Hon. Treasurer: Peter Cargin
Trustees: Ian Herbert, Michael Billington, Peter Cargin

News & reviews

Robert Layton

Robert — ‘Bob’ — Layton, the celebrated musicologist, author and, for 31 years, a BBC Radio Producer, died on 9th November at the age of 90.  He was a member of the Critics’ Circle from 1966. He contributed regularly to a wide variety of publications but as a critic...

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Battle of Hastings

For more than a hundred years, pianists have been doing battle in the seaside town of Hastings on the south coast of England. Originally, the competition featured local players in the context of a general music festival but eventually the keyboard section became...

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Book Review – Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar

In Ayad Akhtar’s 2013 Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Disgraced, his principle character, Amir, a Pakistani-American lawyer, admits feeling a “blush of pride” at 9/11. Akhtar was exploring the crisis of identity felt by many Muslim-Americans in the wake of the terror...

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Turner the Contemporary

The public know Turner as a painter of landscapes capturing light, weather, mist, storms and, in the words of his fellow artist John Constable, of painting with ‘tinted steam’. Yet Tate Britain’s current exhibition Turner’s Modern World reveals the artist in a whole...

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