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Join Warwick University Big Band for the last event of the year, celebrating the musicians leaving the band.   Based in the University of Warwick, this student led 17-piece band has played venues all across the West Midlands and awarded with special merit for the 2023 National Concert Band Festival.   Playing everything from Beyoncé to Big Band classics, WUBB will be sure to put on a memorable performance and a great evening of music. To buy tickets click here [/../../../seats/8520]
In the Auditorium and Bar
25th June from 19:00 to 22:00
Members - Company Member's AGM
In the Auditorium and Bar
18th July from 19:30 to 22:00
Play Reading - Meet Me at the Nightingale
In the Bar
20th July from 19:30 to 21:30


At the Criterion Theatre we are always striving to provide a space for performing arts where a diversity of stories can be told and voices can be heard. This is primarily to entertain, but we also produce challenging, thought-provoking and sometimes provocative theatre.  Alongside our own season of work, as a community theatre, we encourage and empower individual artists and groups of artists to share our theatre space and make creative work. This can mean that elements of programmes cannot be in our full control. However, as set out in our EDI policy [/../../../edi/edi-policy], we would like to reiterate our commitment to inclusivity, where people should come into our theatre and find a welcoming place, particularly for those most vulnerable in our society. We come together in our love for theatre both regardless of, and in due regard to: sex, race and ethnicity, age, disability, religion and belief, sexual orientation and gender identity. The Criterion Theatre is not a place where exclusionary views and behaviours are accepted and we expect all members and visitors to adhere to our EDI policy [/../../../edi/edi-policy].  We will constantly endeavour to meet the high values and standards we have set ourselves. We welcome feedback and comment on any parts of the programming taking place and particularly when we are felt to fall short, from which we will do our very best to improve and learn in the future.   The Board of Directors/Trustees
20th February
It is with the greatest sadness that I have to announce the death of the last surviving Founder Member of the Criterion Theatre, Christine Murly. Christine, who had been in poor health this last year, and had been settled back in Allesley Hall Nursing Home for the past few weeks after a hospital stay, passed away quietly and peacefully on 11th January. She was 93 years old and a much loved and respected member of the Criterion Theatre family.  She will be sadly missed by us all. Without the vision and courage of Christine Harris (as she was called then) and her fellow co-founders, who included her sister and brother-in-law, Beryl and John Smith, there would be no Criterion Theatre. In 1955 they formed the Criterion Players and Christine became the first Company Secretary. After a number of years of intensive fund raising they bought the old Methodist Chapel in Earlsdon and took the personal risk of standing as guarantors for the bank loan. We owe them an immense debt of gratitude. She was a popular actress and also worked in many support roles throughout her long involvement with the Company. Her work as a teacher took her out of Coventry for a while but she never forgot her spiritual home in Earlsdon; returning often to see productions and attend special events. After her husband died she moved back to Coventry again and picked up where she left off, working with her customary enthusiasm at the Criterion. She was regularly seen on the coffee bar and also provided experienced support with the junior drama classes. During the special event celebrating the Criterion Theatre’s 60th celebration she was visibly moved by the realisation of what she’d achieved and by the resounding ovation that the Company gave to her. She was so very proud of being a Founder member – and so are we. Our thoughts and love go out to Christine’s family at this difficult time.  Christine’s funeral will take place at the Charter Chapel, Canley Crematorium, Charter Avenue, Coventry at 11.30am on Monday 6th February, 2023 followed by a gathering at Coventry Hearsall Golf Club, Beechwood Avenue, Coventry. Keith Railton President
15th January
We are really pleased to be able to announce the 2023 season of plays. Coming back after the Covid lockdown has been a difficult journey, and there were different routes we could have taken. We have decided to go big and be ambitious and I do hope that you will come along with us for the ride! We believe we have put together a season that is exciting, challenging and with lots of interest for everyone. Now we really need everyone to get behind the season, and this includes audiences, actors, backstage teams and front of house. Come along and be part of a wonderful year of theatre.  February 4-11 ‘After Life’ by Jack Thorne Directed by Anne-marie Greene March 25-April 1 Programme to be confirmed. This will be a festival of one act plays and short pieces, spoken words, music and other creative events, in collaboration with our local community.   June 17-24 ‘Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street’ by Hugh Wheeler and Stephen Sondheim Directed by Debra Relton-Elves, Musical Director: Liam Walker THE COST OF YOU BY ANDREW SHARPE July 12-15 'The Cost of You' by Andrew Sharpe Directed by Chris Ingall A Studio Production September 2-9 ‘Beryl’ by Maxine Peake Directed by Helen Withers October 21-28 ‘The Welkin’ by Lucy Kirkwood Directed by Nicol Cortese   December 9-16 ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’ by Joseph Kesselring Directed by Bill Butler    
16th August
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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Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Jun 17th to 24th 2023
Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler

Sweeney Todd, an escaped convict once known as Benjamin Barker is back in Fleet Street and resumes his barbershop trade. He is determined to take revenge on the corrupt Judge Turpin who had him sent away 15 years earlier on false charges.

Known as a 'musical thriller' this is one of the greatest and complex of Sondheim's musicals. This exciting production has it all. It is a story of vengeance, injustice and inequality; a chilling horror story which is both deadly funny and genuinely tragic.

Our production features a 21 strong cast, collaborating to create a dark and atmospheric atmosphere, with minimal set and props and the focus on the characters and their emotional and psychological depths and the theatrical melodrama of the piece.  

EDI Assessment

On the character notes, we have indicated where specific playing genders are called for, however some characters can be cast gender-neutrally. All characters will be cast completely neutrally with regards to race and ethnicity. 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

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

Just Finished

Main House
Mar 25th to Apr 1st
Jack Thorne
Main House
Feb 4th to 11th
Laura Wade
Main House
Dec 10th to 17th
© 2023 Criterion Theatre Ltd
Registered UK 01643977 | Registered Charity 1161430