About The Critics’ Circle

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President: Anna Smith
Vice-President: William Russell
Hon. General Secretary: Rick Jones who can be contacted at criticscircleallsections@gmail.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

Bouncing Back

Zazà Opera Holland Park 18 July Endless revivals of “great” operas are legion. But sometimes a work pops out of the undergrowth and catches the imagination of a new era. Zazà, by Ruggero Leoncavallo, the composer of Pagliacci, burst (back) onto the scene with an...

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To Hell and Back

Orfeo ed Euridice Longborough Festival Opera 29 July It’s no secret that Wagner is at the heart of Longborough Festival Opera’s artistic mission, but even they have never mounted quite such an unashamedly Germanic season as this summer. Following on from a (refocused...

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