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Criterion Theatre

Events

Coffee Morning - Coffee. Cake. Community.
In the Bar and Foyer
4th February from 10:30 to 12:00
In the Auditorium
15th February from 19:30 to 21:00
For one night only - a rehearsed reading of the V-Day 2008 version of the monologues. They will be read by members of WOMEN ALOUD – a diverse group of women aged 20 – 70+ who bonded in a pub over hitherto secret desires to perform the VAGINA MONOLOGUES.  There will also be a short programme of brand-new monologues, created especially for WOMEN ALOUD. Plus, information about local women’s support agencies. Any profits will go to support services for women in Coventry. Warning: Contains explicit language Tickets £5.00 via the website or on the door.
In the Auditorium
18th February from 19:30 to 22:00
In the Auditorium
19th February from 15:00 to 17:00
Coffee Morning - Coffee. Cake. Community.
In the Bar and Foyer
4th March from 10:30 to 12:00
One of the unexpected joys of lockdown was the Zoom play-reading circle organised by the Criterion theatre in Coventry, transporting us to different worlds, in a diverse and often distant company of theatre lovers.  Some led to productions, including 'The Gift' early this year and 'The Welkin' scheduled for 2023. 'Maryland' was performed on-line. It also meant that Criterion contacts from around the country could join in without having to brave the Coventry ring road. And enjoy a glass or two. The readings are free to attend (although of course we pay for the rights) and but we think it’s important to broaden our horizons and build on that earlier good work. So, as the nights draw in, why not come and escape from it all? You can read a part, stage directions or just sit back and listen -  it’s totally up to you.  If you would like to read please email lucyhayton@hotmail.com and include your name, approximate age and ethnicity so we can allocate parts as appropriately as possible (although be prepared to read anything!). Below is the list of play readings which we hope you’ll find interesting. Hope to see you then. And please do spread the word, all are welcome.   23rd February 2023 - 8pm - Pomona - Alistair McDowall  [https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/pomona-9781350086715/] Ollie's sister is missing.  Searching Manchester in desperation, she finds all roads lead to Pomona, an abandoned concrete island at the heart of the city. Here at the centre of everything, journeys end and nightmares are born. Pomona is a sinister and surreal thriller.  Register in advance for this meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0sd-Curz4jH914qgjhaxzGmocwaANSBJy8  After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. 30th March 2023 - 8pm - Iman Qureshi - Ministry of Lesbian Affairs  [https://www.nickhernbooks.co.uk/plays-to-perform/ministry-of-lesbian-affairs] It’s 2022. There’s a rainbow flag in every high street window, and no lesbian bar. Enter The Ministry of Lesbian Affairs: a lesbian choir on a mission to unite a disparate and dwindling community. Led by a world-weary conductor, the choir flirt, gossip and attempt to sing their way onto the main stage at Pride. This is a heart-warming and musical comedy about love, queerness, and belonging. No singing will be required as part of the reading!  Register in advance for this meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcsd-uqrz8uGtxjFgTOr9ia3u3KqNzZKI7R  After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
In the Comfort Of Your Home
23rd February from 20:00 to 22:00
One of the unexpected joys of lockdown was the Zoom play-reading circle organised by the Criterion theatre in Coventry, transporting us to different worlds, in a diverse and often distant company of theatre lovers.  Some led to productions, including 'The Gift' early this year and 'The Welkin' scheduled for 2023. 'Maryland' was performed on-line. It also meant that Criterion contacts from around the country could join in without having to brave the Coventry ring road. And enjoy a glass or two. The readings are free to attend (although of course we pay for the rights) and but we think it’s important to broaden our horizons and build on that earlier good work. So, as the nights draw in, why not come and escape from it all? You can read a part, stage directions or just sit back and listen -  it’s totally up to you.  If you would like to read please email lucyhayton@hotmail.com and include your name, approximate age and ethnicity so we can allocate parts as appropriately as possible (although be prepared to read anything!). Hope to see you then. And please do spread the word, all are welcome.   30th March 2023 - 8pm - Iman Qureshi - Ministry of Lesbian Affairs  [https://www.nickhernbooks.co.uk/plays-to-perform/ministry-of-lesbian-affairs] It’s 2022. There’s a rainbow flag in every high street window, and no lesbian bar. Enter The Ministry of Lesbian Affairs: a lesbian choir on a mission to unite a disparate and dwindling community. Led by a world-weary conductor, the choir flirt, gossip and attempt to sing their way onto the main stage at Pride. This is a heart-warming and musical comedy about love, queerness, and belonging. No singing will be required as part of the reading!  Register in advance for this meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcsd-uqrz8uGtxjFgTOr9ia3u3KqNzZKI7R  After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
In the Comfort Of Your Home
30th March from 20:00 to 22:00

News

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 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 has provided an opportunity to reflect  on a number of issues, and one of these has been 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 have 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 have taken 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 will include 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 artisticdirector@criteriontheatre.co.uk. 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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After Life

If you could spend eternity with just one precious memory, what would it be?

Feb 4th to 11th 2023
Jack Thorne

A group of strangers find themselves in a bureaucratic waiting room between life and death. Encouraged by enigmatic officials, they must sift through their past lives to choose their forever.

Adapted from Hirokazu Kore-eda's award-winning film, After Life is a surreal and powerfully human look at the way we view our lives, and a haunting meditation on what it is to live – and to die.

Written by Jack Thorne (Let the Right One In, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and for television, Help, Shameless, Skins, and This is EnglandAfter Life was first performed at the National Theatre, London, in June 2021.


Reviews of the Play

'A compelling vision of eternity' The Times

'A powerful show with subtlety and tenderness' The i

'A great idea, charmingly done... Although After Life is based on a film, its best parts are pure theatre' Guardian

'Miraculous... an absolutely superb play... I was incredibly moved by it... a properly transcendent piece of theatre' Time Out 

EDI Assessment

In line with our EDI policy, we undertake an EDI impact assessment of all our artistic programming. ‘After Life’ has no specific diversity message within its narrative. The play can be cast with complete neutrality on race/ethnicity. Parts of its story lend themselves to gender, ethnicity and age specificity in certain roles but this could be open to artistic judgement permitting maximum flexibility to achieve the most diverse cast possible.

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

Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler
Main House
Jun 17th to 24th

Just Finished

Laura Wade
Main House
Dec 10th to 17th
Charles Dickens adapted by Hugh Janes
Main House
Oct 29th to Nov 4th
Anna Jordan and Philip Meeks
Main House
September 11th
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