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 490 members shared between Theatre (117), Music (78), Film (151), Dance (57), Visual Arts (47) and Books (40). Admission to the Circle is by invitation from the Council.

Since 1988 the Circle has presented each year the Service to Art Rosebowl to an artist of conspicuous achievement. In 2015 the members voted for Dame Maggie Smith, in 2016 for Matthew Bourne.

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: Anna Smith
Vice-President: William Russell
Hon. General Secretary: Rick Jones
Hon. Treasurer: Peter Cargin
Trustees: Ian Herbert, Michael Billington, Peter Cargin

News & reviews

Iolanthe, English National Opera

Iolanthe, English National Opera

Fairy bad by Tom Sutcliffe English National Opera has had mixed experience with Gilbert & Sullivan - apart from Jonathan Miller’s never-fading Mikado brilliantly (and very distinctively) designed by Stefanos Lazaridis. Who now remembers Ken Russell’s tedious Princess...

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Un ballo in maschera, Opera North, Leeds

By Tom Sutcliffe Who is to blame for the less than wonderful launch of Opera North’s latest Verdi? - the marvellous Un ballo in maschera, with its unconsummated central love affair, superstition and violent politics. Richard Farnes is widely accepted as a major...

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Pooh, the bear that delights young and old

There is an enchanted place in the V&A, a place where wonder is being created. From the moment you even look for information on the website and find your cursor has become a swarm of honey bees, the Victoria & Albert’s Winnie-the-Pooh: exploring a classic is magic. If...

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La forza del destino, Welsh National Opera

The most startling aspect of WNO’s account of Verdi’s tale of doomed love is a wicked fairy. As though moonlighting from the Sleeping Beauty, Justina Gringyte participates in the overture beating her drum major-style mace on the ground in time to Verdi’s...

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