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Criterion Theatre

Events

In the Bar
29th September from 18:00 to 19:30
Coffee Morning
In the Bar and Foyer
1st October from 10:30 to 12:30
In the Auditorium and Bar
2nd October from 14:30 to 16:00
In the Bar
19th October from 20:00 to 21:00
Coffee Morning
In the Bar and Foyer
5th November from 10:30 to 12:30
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. 29th September 2022 -  8pm - Taxidermists Daughter - Kate Mosse [https://www.nickhernbooks.co.uk/plays-to-perform/taxidermists-daughter] Adapted by the author for stage, Kate Mosse's novel is set in 1912 in an isolated house on the Sussex salt marshes. A gothic story of violence, retribution and justice.  Register in advance for this meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYocOChpjwsGdVVuGddecX195X0UPJec3tY  After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.   27th October 2022 - 8pm - TBC   1st December 2022 - 8pm - The Birds - Conor McPherson  [https://www.nickhernbooks.co.uk/plays-to-perform/the-birds-stage-version] A suspenseful, atmospheric adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's enthralling short story.   Register in advance for this meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUld-qorj4vHN38zJd5IFU-zWM2Q_C6L8vW  After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.  26th January 2023 - 8pm - Favour - Ambreen Razia  [https://www.nickhernbooks.co.uk/plays-to-perform/favour] Ambreen Razia's play Favour is a touching and hopeful family drama about a working-class Muslim family, tackling duty, addiction and the challenge of pulling yourself back together after it all falls apart. It was a Bush Theatre and Clean Break co-production and premiered at the Bush, London, in 2022  Register in advance for this meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAvfuCrrjgpGda3364IxcJg4rPZgcvtPrTs  After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. 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
29th September 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!). 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. 27th October 2022 - 8pm - TBC 1st December 2022 - 8pm - The Birds - Conor McPherson  [https://www.nickhernbooks.co.uk/plays-to-perform/the-birds-stage-version] A suspenseful, atmospheric adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's enthralling short story.   Register in advance for this meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUld-qorj4vHN38zJd5IFU-zWM2Q_C6L8vW  After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.  26th January 2023 - 8pm - Favour - Ambreen Razia  [https://www.nickhernbooks.co.uk/plays-to-perform/favour] Ambreen Razia's play Favour is a touching and hopeful family drama about a working-class Muslim family, tackling duty, addiction and the challenge of pulling yourself back together after it all falls apart. It was a Bush Theatre and Clean Break co-production and premiered at the Bush, London, in 2022  Register in advance for this meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAvfuCrrjgpGda3364IxcJg4rPZgcvtPrTs  After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. 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
27th October from 20:00 to 22:00

News

__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 • April 1-8 -Festival Development TBA • 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
From July 17th to 23rd 2022, as part of the National Drama Festival, sixteen plays were performed by amateur theatre companies. This week-long theatrical extravaganza was the final heat of the annual National Drama Festivals Association competition, which brings together winners and high scorers from numerous drama festivals which have taken place across the UK as well as entries from Switzerland and Guernsey.   The Criterion Theatre, Earlsdon competed for the first time in 2021, where we achieved Runner Up in the full length play category with 'Queers'.  This year, we were determined to up our game, and we took two plays to one of the regional qualifiers, the Lighthorne Festival of One Act Plays in June- 'Closer to God' by Anna Jordan and 'The Gift: Act 2' by Janice Okoh. Both plays scored highly, but we were thrilled that 'The Gift' received one of the highest scores ever given to a play at Lighthorne and got automatic entry to the final competition.   Given that the plays are the best at their regional festivals, the standard at the final is exceptionally high. We were therefore over the moon to go on to finally win the trophy for Best One Act Play, and Best Comedy Moment for our production of 'The Gift'.   The whole experience was thrilling and so rewarding. It is a competition, but within a very supportive environment, and the adjudicator Jan Palmer-Sayer gave such constructive feedback to everyone involved. You get to see all different kinds of plays and meet lots of interesting people, connected together through their shared love of theatre.   As a side note, our good friends The Talisman Theatre in Kenilworth won Runner Up in the Full Length Play category for their play 'Twinkle' which just shows how high the quality of amateur theatre is in our little corner of the Midlands.   You have a chance to see some of the festival entries on Sunday 11th September 2022, where we will be putting on a double bill of 'Closer to God' and 'Twinkle'. The performance starts at 5:30pm and tickets are available at on the Criterion website at www.criteriontheatre.co.uk [http://www.criteriontheatre.co.uk/]    
31st July
Criterion President Keith Railton and Chairman Jon Elves talk about the Criterion Memories project and some of their own memories.   Helen Withers talks through her (and family's) fondest memories of the theatre and the production process.   Richard and Jill Warren share their memories about a range of topics from nudity, bar productions and armed guards at a Criterion buffet!   Dave Brown had no intention of joining a theatre group in 1964 but talks about the huge impact the Criterion had on his life, even after leaving to settle in Canada in 1973.   Dave Cornish talks about the magic created in the tech box over the past 45 years; from the creation of sound effects to missing cues while preparing for the next show!   Becky Cribden and Paul Forey talk about their time at the theatre from the younger generation's perspective. From unmemorable teachers in drama classes, to finding each other (and a lot of friends along the way) - and the odd sound box joke.   Jamie Firth talks to Gennie Holmes about her time at the theatre, including the difficulties of getting served at the bar when everyone knows your age, the thrill of period costumes in summer and the benefit of being on stage with your husband when things go wrong!   Karl and Sylvia Stafford talk about their time at the theatre, including making dresses, meeting at the theatre and trousers splitting on stage (everyone's favourite theatre story!   Pete Bagley talks about the days of getting postcards through the door, arguments about hobbyhorses and setting fires backstage.   Dave and Linda Holmes talk about their lives at the Criterion, with tales of wardrobe, set building and after show parties. * Apologies for the poor sound quality on the film.     Ian Knight talks about his "spiritual home", the development of technology in productions and falling through roofs.   Olivia Holmes and Pete Meredith about growing up within the theatre, learning life lessons and the sweat involved in firing guns on time!   Mark Wiszowaty about his happiest moments at the theatre, including a power cut that prevented a plague, and being booed at an old people's home.     John Ruscoe about his time at the theatre, including his fondest productions, and the balance involved in producing high-quality amateur theatre.  
25th April

Links

The Haunting

Oct 29th to Nov 4th 2022
Charles Dickens adapted by Hugh Janes

A spine-chilling play, based on several original ghost stories by Charles Dickens.

In an ancient, crumbling mansion, sheltering from the howling winds that tear across the surrounding desolate moorland, two men stumble across a dark and terrifying secret that will change both of their lives.

When a young book dealer, David Filde, is employed by a former associate of his uncle to catalogue a private library, he finds an incredible array of rare and antiquated books. But as a series of strange and unexplained events conspires to keep Filde from his work, he realises that if he is to convince his sceptical employer that the mysterious phenomena he is experiencing are real, they must journey together to the very edge of terror, and beyond...

Reviews of the Play

'Great pace and terrific suspense... guaranteed to raise goosebumps' Maidenhead Advertiser

'Gripping... and fascinating too' British Theatre Guide

EDI Assessment

In line with our EDI policy, we undertake an EDI impact assessment of all our artistic programming. ‘The Haunting’ has no specific diversity message within its narrative. The play can be cast with complete neutrality on race/ethnicity. Its themes call for gender specificity in certain roles.

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

Laura Wade
Main House
Dec 10th to 17th
Jack Thorne
Main House
Feb 4th to 11th

Just Finished

Anna Jordan and Philip Meeks
Main House
September 11th
Friedrich Schiller adapted by Peter Oswald
Main House
Sep 3rd to 10th
David Greig & Gordon McIntyre
Main House
Jul 2nd to 9th
© 2022 Criterion Theatre Ltd
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