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



The cast in ENO’s new production of Strauss’s biblical opera are on good form. Stuart Jackson’s Narraboth rings out in the opening scene. The eponymous Alison Cook’s voice is not used to ring out but to extremely dramatic effect as the girl caught up in a world in...

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Proms Hail Bernstein

Several of the Proms have celebrated the American composer Leonard Bernstein in his centenary. Nothing has been more rapturously received than Bernstein’s musical West Side Story performed at the halfway weekend by the John Wilson Orchestra under the founder-conductor...

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Michael Inside

Mansel Stimpson writes about an Irish film that confronts truths about the bad influence that prison can have. The tone established by writer/director Frank Berry is enormously important here. Michael Inside is, as the very title suggests, a film about being in prison...

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