About The Critics’ Circle
President: Anna Smith
Vice-President: William Russell
Hon. General Secretary: Rick Jones who can be contacted at email@example.com
Hon. Treasurer: Peter Cargin
Trustees: Ian Herbert, Michael Billington, Peter Cargin
The Critics’ Circle has existed since 1913 to protect cultural criticism from the censor and the despot. It was at first an offshoot of the Institute of Journalists on Fleet Street and has aways had the critics of the daily national papers as the core of its membership. The Circle views criticism as an arm of free speech and an essential ingredient of a healthy society. From small beginnings, the Circle today has 490 members shared between Theatre (117), Music (78), Film (151), Dance (57), Visual Arts (47) and Books (40). As an association, it provides numerical strength to its members, most of whom labour as unrepresented freelancers. After much philosophical debate in the 1980s, the Circle decided to become an award-giving organisation and since 1988 has presented each year the Service to Art Rosebowl to an artist of conspicuous achievement whom the President toasts by raising the Charles Dickens Goblet to him or her at the annual luncheon usually held in London. In 2015 the members voted for Dame Maggie Smith. The sections also make their own awards, some of them in ceremonies which have become siginificant social occasions. The sections hold periodic meetings to discuss their awards, propose new members, debate current issues and sometimes meet artists.
Admission to the Circle is by invitation from the 28-member Council. The rule book states:
Invitations are issued to persons engaged professionally, regularly and substantially for at least two years in the writing or broadcasting (television, radio and internet) of criticism of drama, music, film, dance, visual arts and literature or who write or broadcast informed analytical features or programmes.
A Critical Century – a history of the Circle is available on Amazon as an E Book. www.amazon.co.uk
News & Reviews
The dark, dank streets and tenements of London’s notorious borough of Whitechapel in 1888 are powerfully captured by English National Opera’s production of Jack the Ripper. Composer Iain Bell has created a rich and sumptuous score with a Romantic flavour in the...read more
In February, the Music Section presented two of its Critics’ Circle Awards. At the Hackney Empire, Mark Valencia was on hand to do the honours, presenting soprano Jennifer France her award after her incredible performance for Scottish Opera in Stuart MacRae’s new...read more