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27th September, 2013

The Critics' Circle Centenary Conference

Event Details

27th September, 2013
Embassy Theatre, The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Eton Avenue, London NW3 3HY
FREE to include tea and coffee; numbers are limited - advance booking essential

1oo Years of Criticism: Key Changes

Critics, academics and members of the theatregoing public are warmly invited to this one-day conference, organised by the Drama Section of the Critics’ Circle with the generous support of the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. A distinguished group of panellists and speakers (including Nica Burns, Nicholas de Jongh, David Eldridge, Lyn Gardner, Frances Hughes, Libby Purves, Michael Simkins and Michelle Terry) will address the roots of modern theatre criticism, describe how they go about it now, listen to the views of their targets and consider the future of professional theatre reviewing in a world of tweets and blogs.

To book please send your name (and affiliation, if any) by email to

Conference Outline Programme – subject to confirmation:

9.30-10.00 Sign in

10.00 Welcome to Central
Gavin Henderson, Principal, Central School
Simon Tait, Critics’ Circle President

10.05 – 11.00 Historical session: How did it start?
Chair: Ian Herbert, Theatre Record
Frances Hughes, Chair of the Irving Society, on criticism a century ago
Nicholas de Jongh, critic and playwright, on critics and censorship
Open discussion

11.00 – 11.30 Coffee

11.30 – 12.30 Theatre criticism now: What’s the point?
Chair: Libby Purves, The Times
Panel: to include Kate Bassett, Independent on Sunday
Mark Fisher, freelance
Fiona Mountford, Evening Standard
Open discussion

12.30 – 1.30 Lunch (not provided)

1.30 – 2.00 Guest speaker: Michael Simkins, actor and writer
Introduced by Heather Neill, Hon Sec of the Critics’ Circle Drama Section

2.00 – 3.00 Being Criticised: The industry view
Chair: Mark Shenton, Sunday Express
Panel: to include Nica Burns (producer)
David Eldridge (playwright)
Michelle Terry (actress)
Jonathan Church (artistic director, Chichester Festival)
Open discussion

3.00– 3.30 Tea

3.30 – 4.15 What Next? Challenges and solutions
Chair: Lyn Gardner, The Guardian
Panel: Michael Coveney, Whatsonstage
Kerry Michael (artistic director, Theatre Royal, Stratford E15)
Matt Trueman, freelance
Open  discussion

4.15 Closing Comments
Mark Shenton, Chair of the Critics’ Circle Drama Section
Followed by a wine reception

For more information please click here.


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