Chair: Mark Shenton
Hon Secretary: William Russell
Contact for matters about the Drama section: firstname.lastname@example.org
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
News & Reviews
On Wednesday 6 December 2017, the winner of the Critics' Circle's annual award for Distinguished Service to the Arts will be announced at the Circle's Annual General Meeting in London, and in due course published. The 500 members of the Circle are currently deciding...read more
The end of an era, start of a new venture The grand daddy of pub theatres, The King's Head Theatre in Islington opened in 1970 by Dan Crawford and home to a legion of stars to be and stars, as well as some memorable productions, is to moved in 2018 to brand new...read more
Willam Russell Garry O'Connor's The Vagabond Lover to be published on 24 April by CentreHouse Press, pirce £20, is a memoir about his relationship with his famous father Cavan O'Connor, the broadcasting and variety star. Garry O'Conner who has been a drama ctritic for...read more
William Russell Held at the Prince of Wales Theatre on Tuesday 31 January the winners of the Critics' Circle Theatre awards were - Best New Play The Flick by Annie Baker at the National Theatre. Peter Hepple Award for Best Musical Groundhog Day at the Old Vic. Best...read more
IATC condemnation Margareta Sorenson, IATC President The International Association of Theatre Critics strongly condemns the recent ban imposed in Turkey upon the works of a few major classical playwrights. It has been revealed in the international media that State...read more
Mark Brown and Natasha Tripney Mark Brown who writes in the Sunday Herald and Natasha Tripney of The Stage reported that the International Association of Theatre Critics congress in Belgrade was held during the famous Belgrade International Theatre festival and that...read more
There is a discussion taking place in the press and on Facebook about bad behaviour in theatre as a result of what happened after a couple brought in some Chicken McNuggets to a performance of Dr Faustus starring the Game of Thrones actor Kit Harrington. The result...read more
William Russell At 91 Thelma Ruby is going back on stage in her one woman show to launch the Festival 46 season at the King's Head theatre in Islington later this month. Star of revue, musicals, films and plays - she has done pretty well everthing in her long career...read more