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The Stage Critic Search 2015

Approved by ATG's PR & Communications Officer, David Bradbury

The Stage Critic Search 2015in association with TheatrePeople.com - Finding the nation's best undiscovered critic

Alistair Smith, Editor of The Stage newspaper, today announces the launch of The Stage Critic Search 2015, in association with TheatrePeople.com. At a time when many UK publications are cutting back on their reviews coverage - especially outside London and Off-West End - The Stage Critic Search is a nationwide competition to discover and promote talented theatre critics. For full details, please go to: www.thestage.co.uk/criticsearch.

Alistair Smith said: 'We are thrilled to be launching The Stage Critic Search 2015 enabling us to support theatre criticism at a national and local level in an extension of our policy that theatre matters across the UK. The role of the critic has been much debated of late, and at The Stage we believe wholeheartedly in the importance of excellent theatre criticism.

Critics do not just to offer opinion and guide audiences to the best work UK theatre has to offer, but are also key to identifying and nurturing new talent. Whether in print, online or broadcast, critics are vital to the lifeblood of theatre, and are the meeting point between the industry and the public. I look forward with my colleagues, and with the generous support of our sponsor TheatrePeople.com, to identifying the new critics of tomorrow.'

Launched on 30 April, the competition is open to anyone across the UK aged 18 and over. Entries will be considered by a panel of industry experts. Joining Alistair Smith, Mark Shenton, lead critic and Associate Editor, and Natasha Tripney lead critic, are Cush Jumbo (actor / playwright), Daniel Evans (Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres) and Stephanie Street (actor / playwright).

Entries will be shortlisted to the best from each region within the UK*, with the final 12 each invited to review one theatre production at a theatre local to them, with their reviews published in The Stage, both in print and on-line. Throughout this process they will be mentored by the team at The Stage and critics including Lyn Gardner (The Guardian), Henry Hitchings (London's Evening Standard) and Andrew Haydon (Postcards from the Gods blog).

The judging panel will decide on the winner from 3 shortlisted finalists, who will receive 1,000 and an opportunity to write for The Stage regularly. The winner will be announced late July.

John Wales, CEO of TheatrePeople.com commented: 'Independent, well written and considered reviews inform prospective clients before they book. Although an independent viewpoint, accuracy of the review delivers trust and encourages repeat theatre visits when expectations are satisfied and surpassed. At TheatrePeople.com, we rely on quality reviews to help us sell 1 in 5 of all theatre tickets in London's West End.'