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

Proms off like the Clappers

Oh for goodness’ sake. The Proms begin and all anyone can talk about is applause in the wrong place. The audience clapped the individual planets of the Solar System instead of waiting for Neptune at the end of Holst’s suite on opening night. Pluto was still unnoticed...

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Close Encounters of the Third Kind – in concert

By Anna Smith I’ve become a bit of a regular at the Royal Albert Hall’s ‘in concert’ series: it’s a certainly an impressive place to watch classic movies with a live orchestral soundtrack. Back to the Future and Amadeus raised the roof, and Raiders of the Lost Ark was...

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Pelleas et Melisande, Glyndebourne

Road to nowhere by Tom Sutcliffe Self-referential production concepts have become tediously common at Glyndebourne over the years. The very high standing of Britain’s oldest and most distinguished opera festival no doubt makes it hard totally to avoid...

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The Lodger, Bremerhaven State Theatre

Undead By Tom Sutcliffe Phyllis Tate’s 1960 opera has not deserved the neglect into which it has fallen. Will the current claims about advancing the status of women composers actually mean anything? Tate was married to Alan Frank who ran OUP’s music list for 21 years...

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