Edinburgh (a prologue)

Three weeks ago Mark Fisher (The Guardian) told me I should go to Edinburgh. I imagine it to be like Winchester with shabbier and more intoxicated people. Thanking you in advance, Fisher!

Mr Fisher

In just 48 hours I will be taking a seat at The Underbelly to watch my first show ‘Bromance’ by BMT (Barely Methodical Troupe) *swoon* at Edinburgh Fringe Festival (The largest arts festival in the world). I will be writing two features, one for The Big Issue and Arts Professional. My schedule currently contains fifteen shows over three days. *air punch*

I’ve never been to Scotland before let alone an enormous festival(!) Here, I should probably offer some ceremonial apologies in advance. As project manager for Young Critics I have been afforded a unique insight into the minds of our countries leading critics and bloggers and hope to put some of the knowledge to good use.

Expect a flurry of blog posts because if there is one thing I’ve learnt it’s that blogs are really important. They put you in touch with your reader. And it helps if the reader is plural.

Do not despair…


A Level in Media Studies (PROOF)

It’s fair to say that one is quite excited about witnessing the transcendent and the downright mediocre. I will be keeping a daily blog about my experiences, appreciation and affections for what’s on display at this. I suppose a de facto account of my time will follow.

Sure, I’ve booked in for some safe bets (The Encounter, Fake it ‘Til You Make It and Institute etc) however, I’m open to unexpected treasures and have left space in my schedule to seek out those hidden gems.

There is more writing about theatre criticism than ever, which is excellent for theatre. Anyway, let the fun proliferate.

*thumbs up emoji*

Young Critics in Southern Daily Echo (05.08.15)


Hampshire theatre extends young writer project



A WINCHESTER theatre is extending its industry-leading project to encourage youngsters to write about performing arts.

Source: Hampshire theatre extends young writer project

Young Critics Autumn Season

Young Critics

Theatre Royal Winchester is extending its industry-leading project into the Autumn season, due to popular demand. Workshops are led by national journalists and leading theatre critics. There are exciting opportunities to review shows at regional theatres and participants will be provided with mentoring and an opportunity for their work to be published in The Big Issue. A number of regional theatres have been supporting the scheme with an offer of press tickets for participants. Michael Ockwell Chief Executive of The Mayflower Theatre, Southampton said: “We are delighted to be working with our colleagues at Theatre Royal Winchester on this wonderful initiative. Informed, relevant and considered criticism is crucial to the development of arts appreciation and Issue. Mayflower Theatre is pleased to play a small role in facilitating enriching discussions for all the participants in the Young Critics scheme.’

Michael Billington

Young Critics has been attracting a stellar lineup of contributors including The Guardian’s Michael Billington: Britain’s longest-serving theatre critic. He is undeniably a fixture of British Theatre. Michael said: ” I’m delighted to be taking part in a workshop for Young Critics.. So I’m very happy both to talk about the critical trade and hand on whatever practical advice I can.”

The six week course begins in September and costs £90. The course fee includes all sessions and additional ticket offers to shows at other regional venues (including Theatre Royal Winchester, The Mayflower, Southampton, Salisbury Playhouse and Nuffield Theatre) To book call Theatre Royal Winchester box office on 01962 840440.

For further information visit http://www.theatreroyalwinchester.co.uk/

For press information please call 01962 844 600 ext. 208

Seussical (18 and 19 July)


We did it!


Some feedback…

“Thank you very much for such an amazing production of Seussical! We were all so impressed, the kids did an amazing job, so thanks to you, Ryan and Rob for all your time and effort. You did a brilliant job! image

“Now that I have had time to just think about the show, I wanted to repeat my
congratulations. It is no small feat to get such a level of consistent high standard
from one pre 16 age group, but from a cast covering such an age range it
was pretty amazing. I loved the fact that the ‘little people’ showed the same
level of stage discipline as the older ones.”

“It is so good to see the Young Theatre Royal going from strength to strength. We are sure this is important not just for the Theatre but for the City and, of course, the young people themselves.”

“There is a large groundswell of opinion that we are very lucky that our children can be a part of your productions.”



Reviews and responses from young critics at Winchester Hat Fair, the UK’s longest-running festival of outdoor arts, 3rd – 5th July 2015. 100% unbiased and uncensored. Read more at  youngcritics-hatfair

Spectacular Seussical Launch on stage at Theatre Royal Winchester

Seussical the Musical Launch 

Wednesday 17 June 2015 


Supporters were treated to a mini preview of Theatre Royal Winchester’s Summer Youth Theatre Musical Seussical this week. Seussical is a colourful musical by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty based on the books of Dr Seuss. The young people between the ages of 8-16 performed two numbers on stage to a supportive crowd.

The show is directed by me, with choreography by Ryan Grimshaw and Musical Direction by Robert Rayner. The colourful design by Hayley Spicer with costumes made by the very talented Arts University Bournemouth Students and puppets by Stuff and Nonsense with Holly Miller.


Team FOH


Our young people absolutely delivered the goods! The two songs were electric and true to the spirit of the production highlighting everything you would want and expect from a show that includes characters from the wonderful world of Dr Seuss, whilst promising unexpected delights.4ImDi80nQ-WItwkMhvdVLZAVrY4Y6wFjuBYSM6ZE0g4

Young Theatre Royal gives young performers aged 6 to 21 the opportunity to create theatre and perform.

Seussical will run from Saturday 18 July to Sunday 19 July 2015 and is sponsored by Darren Northeast PR and supported by Hampshire Chamber of Commerce. To book visit theatreroyalwinchester.co.uk


Fun is good.” Dr. Seuss

Photo credit Dominic Parkes

Young Critics to get exclusive access at Hat Fair


The Young Critics scheme, which is sponsored by A Younger Theatre, will have exclusive access to performers and acts at Hat Fair 2015.

Source: Young Critics to get exclusive access at Hat Fair

Young Critics at Hat Fair

Young Critics Get Involved in Hat Fair, Winchester’s Outdoor Arts Festival

Young Critics

A new generation of young theatre critics will be putting their reviewing and writing skills to the test in the exciting arena of outdoor arts. They will be let loose at this year’s Hat Fair (3-5 July) and will have exclusive access to interview the artists and performers.

As part of the three day event the Young Critics will be offered professional development with prolific blogger Megan Vaughan, who writes as Churlish Meg. They will also meet critics from the National Association of Street Arts.

All reviews will be uncensored and uploaded to a blog that Megan has created especially for the event.

Megan Vaughan adds: “The Young Critics Scheme from the Theatre Royal is new, but it’s going from strength-to-strength already. It’s fantastic that those opportunities are being rolled out for the young people at Hat Fair too, meaning they’ll get experience of responding to work in an intensive, festival environment. I’m looking forward to supporting them through the whole weekend but, to be honest, I’m mostly excited about reading all the brilliance they come up with!”

Young Critics is a scheme for under 25s aimed at inspiring a new generation of theatre critics to stimulate interest in performance, run by Theatre Royal Winchester and A Younger Theatre. So far participants have been mentored by journalist heavyweights Lyn Gardner, Catherine Love, Mark Shenton, Natasha Tripney, and supported by Jake Orr, founder of A Younger Theatre.

Scheme founder and organiser Carl Woodward commented: “”Reviews and coverage are a critical part of the creative process. We are thrilled that our young reviewers can feed in to the debate around outdoor arts and respond to a diverse range of performances, from headline acts, to pop-up-performances and unconventional hatters. The extension of this project into Hat Fair says a lot about the importance of critical writing, and encourages more coverage responding to the surprise and playfulness of the outdoor and street arts sector.”

Examples of work

DA Parade 2

DA Parade

Pound Arts 2 Pound Arts War Horse 2 War Horse 3 War Horse Weymouth Day Centre Young Critics Stage Makeup  Theatre Bootcamp