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Criterion Theatre


Christmas Carols - Criterion Christmas carols
In the Auditorium and Bar
22nd December from 20:00 to 23:00
Coffee Morning - Criterion coffee morning
In the Bar and Foyer
6th January from 10:30 to 12:30
In the Bar
17th January from 20:00 to 21:00
Coffee Morning - Criterion coffee morning
In the Bar and Foyer
3rd February from 10:30 to 12:30
In the Bar
18th December from 19:00 to 22:00


    We are really pleased to announce the 2024 season so far. It is exciting and challenging, with a mix of genres, new writing and classic pieces, well known and unusual plays. Please look out for Open Reading and Audition notices coming soon.    STUDIO SLOT : WEDS 10TH TO SATURDAY 13TH JANUARY THE TRIALS BY DAWN KING (2022) Genre: Drama , Cast: 12 youth, 2 adults , Director: Alan Fenn _Synopsis: The near future. The climate emergency is gathering pace, and our generation is being judged. The jurors are children. But are they delivering justice – or just taking revenge? Dawn King's searing play was first performed in January 2022. The Trials offers an exciting opportunity for theatre companies to address the climate emergency and intergenerational conflict, as the jury of 12 to 17-year-olds hold the stage alongside two adult defendants._   MAIN HOUSE: SAT 27TH JANUARY TO SAT 3RD FEBRUARY EVERY BRILLIANT THING BY DUNCAN MACMILLAN (2015) Genre: Totally heartwarming, Cast: 1, Director: Anne-marie Greene _Synopsis: When Mum’s in the hospital and Dad says she finds it hard to be happy, there’s not much a seven year old can do…1. Ice cream, 2. Water fights, 3. Staying up past your bedtime and being allowed to watch TV. These are the first three items on a list of every brilliant thing in the world worth living for. As the child grows up, so does the list. It takes on a life of its own, a Facebook group is started, other people start adding to it, writing in the margins, making amendments, providing footnotes. The purpose of the list is forgotten and the mother’s depression doesn’t go away. Eventually, as a grown-up, they reach their self-imposed target of one million entries.  They call the list ‘Every Brilliant Thing’. Based on true and untrue stories, Every Brilliant Thing is a life-affirming story of how to achieve hope through focusing on the smallest miracles of life._   MAIN HOUSE: SAT 16TH TO SAT 23RD MARCH A DIRTY GREAT LOVE STORY BY KATE BONNA/RICHARD MARSH (2012) Genre: Comedy, Cast: 4, Director: Kelly Davidson _Synopsis: A wry, funny, sweet-natured variation on the archetypal boy-meets-girl story. Nice, nerdy Richard and lately dumped Katie meet when a stag night and hen party collide and end up having a drunken one-night stand. Over the following months, they acquire new partners and, when their respective best friends get hitched, fleetingly meet at a wedding, a christening and a muddy pop festival. Wittily written, at times in rhyme, the pleasure of the piece lies in the language. It premiered in August 2012 as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival._   MAIN HOUSE: SAT 4TH TO SAT 11TH MAY SPRINGBOARD FESTIVAL 2024 A week of one act plays, poetry, music and art, bringing together amateur and professionals in one space, with in house company performances and community/Criterion collaborations alongside external artists, musicians and theatre companies, poetry workshops and art exhibitions.    MAIN HOUSE SAT 22ND TO 29TH JUNE THE HOMECOMING BY HAROLD PINTER (1965) Genre: Classic Drama, Cast: 5 (4M 1W), Director: John Ruscoe _Synopsis: Pinter wrote this two-act play in 1964, and it premiered in 1965. It is one of the playwright’s most unnerving works. Teddy brings his wife, Ruth, home from America for the first time to meet his family in London. The play is essentially one long power struggle between the male family members, with Ruth as the catalyst. The play is rich with meaning, picking at ideas of family, masculinity and the home. _   MAIN HOUSE SAT 31ST AUGUST TO SAT 7TH SEPTEMBER TBA   MAIN HOUSE SAT 19TH TO SAT 26TH OCTOBER 1984 BY ROBERT ICKE/DUNCAN MACMILLAN (2013) Genre: Drama, Cast: 8 (1W 1M, 6 gender non-specific), Director: Steve Brown _Synopsis: A critically acclaimed adaptation of George Orwell’s dystopian novel. 1984 follows a group of historians as they discover the diary of Comrade 6079, Winston Smith. In a world where all citizens are closely watched by Big Brother, Winston’s life is jeopardised when he suddenly falls in love and begins to think free thoughts that threaten the scarily controlling government.  This is a chilling adaptation of a classic tale, which will leave audiences gripping their seats in fear._   MAIN HOUSE SAT 7TH TO SAT 14TH DECEMBER A CHRISTMAS CAROL : A FAIRY TALE BY PIERS TORDAY (2019). Genre: Classic Christmas drama, Cast: 15-30, Director: TBC _Synopsis: A really exciting re-imagining for the 21st century with an original, female-led version. In this reinvention of the timeless classic, Ebenezer has died and his sister Fan has inherited his money-lending business. _
22nd September
The Covid lockdown provided an opportunity to reflect  on a number of issues, and one of these was our position and policy on equality, diversity and inclusion at the Criterion. We have always prided ourselves on the way in which we aim to be open and welcoming to everyone who comes through our doors. However, the recent demand for change, born of George Floyd’s murder and the wider Black Lives Matter movement has provided a particular catalyst for serious reflection. As a Board of Trustees, we therefore worked to put together an Anti-Racism Reflective Statement [/../../edi/blacklivesmatter] that sets out our position and is not only a provocation to ourselves, but also a set of aspirations and a call to action to make real change and progress on equality, diversity and inclusion within our theatre.  Accompanying this, we took the opportunity to update our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy Statement [/../../edi/edi-policy]. We think it is  important to proudly state our position, what we currently do, and what we plan to do to make improvements in the future around EDI . In order to move this agenda forward, we have produced an EDI Action plan [/../../../edi/edi-action-plan] which includes positive targets and review points . We are asking all our members, volunteers and stakeholders to sign up to an ethos of equality, diversity and inclusion, and to commit to furthering diversity within our company and beyond it into the wider theatre and arts arena. We have also set up an EDI working group, and would welcome contact from any individual who feels they would like to be a part of this to We are also pleased to be involved in consultation with the Diversity in Theatre Group set up recently involving members from local amateur theatres. In the uncertain times ahead, we can look to move forward in a way that is driven by a core aspiration for the Criterion Theatre to be a demonstrable place of opportunity for all with diverse and brilliant plays on stage and inclusive company and membership. Anne-marie Greene Artistic Director
29th March

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Arsenic And Old Lace

Dec 9th to 16th 2023
Joseph Kesselring

As a perfect end to our 2023 season, we present a revival of Joseph Kesselring’s classic dark farce, Arsenic and Old Lace.

This uproarious comedy tells the story of two charming gentle old ladies, pillars of the community who rescue their poor, lonely lodgers from the sorrows of the world  - by poisoning them.

Last performed at the Criterion over 25 years ago, comedies of this longevity are hard to find, being a huge Broadway hit in the early ’40s and then surviving as a relative staple of the international stage repertoire ever since.   

Reviews of the play

“ …an inspired and delightful comic concoction, which combines the cosy charm and ingenious plotting of an Agatha Christie Whodunnit with a much sharper and more knowing satirical perspective.” The Guardian


EDI Assessment

In line with our EDI policy, we undertake an EDI impact assessment of all our artistic programming. ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’ has no specific diversity message within its narrative. The play can be cast with complete neutrality on race/ethnicity. On the character notes, there are indications where specific playing gender identifications are called for, however some characters can be cast gender-neutrally. This play was first produced in 1941 and elements of the play reflect attitudes at that time, in particular the approach to mental health. The play offers lead roles to older female actors.At the Criterion we are absolutely committed to a core aspiration to be a demonstrable place of opportunity for all, with diverse and brilliant plays on stage and inclusive company and membership. Please see our policies on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.



Anniversary Celebrations 2021

Criterion at night

February 2021-February 2022 was the 60th anniversary of the Criterion Theatre opening. Why not check out the wonderful interviews conducted so far with members reflecting on their favourite memories and stories about the Criterion over the last 60 years in our Criterion Memories project.


Coming Soon

Dawn King
Studio in the Auditorium
Jan 10th to 13th
Duncan Macmillan with Jonny Donahoe
Main House
Jan 27th to Feb 3rd
Kate Bonna and Richard Marsh
Main House
Mar 16th to 23rd
Main House
May 4th to 11th
Harold Pinter
Main House
Jun 22nd to 29th

Just Finished

Lucy Kirkwood
Main House
Oct 21st to 28th
Maxine Peake
Main House
Sep 2nd to 9th
Andrew Sharpe
Studio in the Auditorium
Jul 12th to 15th
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