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The Criterion Theatre
is situated in Earlsdon, Coventry
Coventry is a city and metropolitan borough in the county of West Midlands in England. Coventry is the 9th largest city in England and the 11th largest in the United Kingdom. It is also the second largest city in the English Midlands, after Birmingham, with a population of 300,848, although...
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...
. It puts on about seven shows a year. The Company has won the Godiva Award for best theatre in the region several times.
The current patrons are Pete Waterman
Peter Alan Waterman OBE is an English record producer, occasional songwriter, radio and club DJ, television presenter, president of Coventry Bears rugby league club and a keen railway enthusiast. As a member of the Stock Aitken Waterman songwriting team he wrote and produced many hit singles...
, music producer and railway preservationist, born in Coventry and Ron Cook
Ron Cook is an English actor who has been active in the theatre, film and television since the 1970s. He is from South Shields, Co Durham, England and is a graduate of Rose Bruford College.- Stage appearances :...
, stage and screen actor of Thunderbirds
Thunderbirds is a British mid-1960s science fiction television show devised by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson and made by AP Films using a form of marionette puppetry dubbed "Supermarionation"...
and Doctor Who
Doctor Who is a British science fiction television programme produced by the BBC. The programme depicts the adventures of a time-travelling humanoid alien known as the Doctor who explores the universe in a sentient time machine called the TARDIS that flies through time and space, whose exterior...
fame, who first acted as an amateur at the Criterion. The Coventry born actor, Sir Nigel Hawthorne
Sir Nigel Barnard Hawthorne, CBE was an English actor, perhaps best remembered for his role as Sir Humphrey Appleby, the Permanent Secretary in the 1980s sitcom Yes Minister and the Cabinet Secretary in its sequel, Yes, Prime Minister. For this role he won four BAFTA Awards during the 1980s in the...
(1929–2001), was a former patron.
The building was built in the 1880s and served as the Earlsdon Methodist Church until 1923, when it was replaced by a new church on the corner of Albany Road and Earlsdon Avenue South. It was then used as a Sunday school and as a venue for a variety of community events. It was sold by the Methodists in 1960 to the Criterion Players
, a local church amateur dramatic society that had formed in 1955. The building was converted and with one stage, the Criterion Theatre was opened in 1961 by Mr S.H. Newshome, a patron, who was the Managing Director of the Coventry Hippodrome (now demolished).