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What the experts say about Young Critics workshop

“I had a very good time at the Young Critics workshop in Winchester. More important, however, was the palpable commitment and hunger to learn of those who attended. A scheme like this is vitally important at a time when young critics need all the practical help they can get in a world where the digital revolution has created new opportunities.” Michael Billington (@billicritic) writes for The Guardian.

“I was delighted to take part in the Young Critics scheme. It’s terrific to see a theatre encouraging young people not just to engage with performance but to think and write about it too. Supporting a critical culture is good for theatre as a transferable skill that can be applied in many areas of life.” Lyn Gardner (@lyngardner) writes for The Guardian.

“Criticism is in a time of great flux, with less opportunity and column inches in traditional print media, yet potentially unlimited space and unlimited potential to discuss and develop ideas online. With less opportunities to make a living from writing, it is more important then ever that these young, talented people are nurtured to allow them the confidence and the knowledge of how to gain opportunities to develop into the next generation of critics who will be read in years to come such as Agate, Tynan and Billington are today. For those of us who spend many a night on our own in the stalls it is a great privilege to discuss and share our own thoughts, insights and advice on the work we do and its continued importance to the industry moving forward.”  Kris Hallet (@krishallet) writes for Whats On Stage. 

“As the author of How to Write About Theatre, I am impressed with the ambition and drive of the Young Critics programme. Carl Woodward has not only recognised the willingness of young people to think critically about theatre, but has given them access to the highest level of expertise in his line-up of visiting speakers. It’s an accomplishment that deserves to continue and flourish.” Mark Fisher (@MarkFFisher), Guardian theatre critic and author of  @WriteAboutTheatre.

“As the first non-full-time professionals invited to engage with the Young Critics, I was delighted the new media and blog market was such an intense focus of interest for the project. Our presentation was enjoyable to compile and deliver and we got lots of useful feedback both at the time, and subsequently as members kept in touch and shared ways in which they’d taken our advice or suggestions on board. Helping them to identify ways in which they could each make their websites or blogs unique and saleable was, for me, the most rewarding part of the activity. The country isn’t short of ‘creative writing’ or ‘journalism’ courses but harnessing it to fringe and regional theatre where such writers can make an active and effective contribution to the publicity, evaluation and arts funding decision making is undoubtedly an untapped area which deserves encouragement.” Johnny Fox (@johnnyfoxlondon) writes for Londonist.

“The chance to bring together people from various backgrounds with a range of experiences and share their knowledge makes this type of scheme really special. Taking part in Young Critics was a great opportunity to review with Johnnyfoxlondon what we have been doing over the past few years and think about why we do it, and what gets us excited. I think we were able to share our enthusiasm and love for theatre while also pointing out that it wasn’t the only thing you can do in your life.
“I have been a blogger for more years than I care to remember and an avid user of a range of social media platforms. So it was great fun to engage with a group of enthusiastic young writers and discuss the opportunities, angles and performances.” Paul Ewing  




More about Carl’s work

“Carl Woodward has been associated with Oak Lodge for many years. He is always calm and gets on well with everyone – staff and pupils alike! He is wonderfully creative and can adapt his workshops to meet the needs of all pupils. It is always a pleasure to work with him.” Rebecca Coultas, Oak Lodge Special School

“Carl has worked for PEEL Roleplay as a simulated patient on many occasions across our venues at Plymouth and Exeter medical schools. I can say without question that Carl has always worked in an exceptionally professional manner and is always well prepared. PEEL Roleplay work with only the best simulated patient role-players – those with genuine passion and understanding of the important work they do to provide a supportive and structured training environment for the doctors of the future.” Jessica Akrigg, Head of Development – PEEL Roleplay

Carl is a visionary choreographer, who can see exciting potential for dance and symbolic movement where others would just see empty space.  He is attuned to empowerment of minority groups and draws into focus in dance oppression, liberation and the whole spectrum of human aspirations and dilemmas.  His dance for Anne Frank  added greatly to the impact of our exhibition, drawing the lessons from history into challenges for the present.  I always find him stimulating to work with.” The Rev’d Dr Ian Terry, Team Rector of Bournemouth Town Centre

I had the pleasure of working alongside Carl on an event here in 2013 and 2014. He was professional, driven and highly motivated, producing a high standard of work. I look forward to working with him again! Emma Bovey, Sales and Conference Executive, Lighthouse Poole’s Centre for the Arts.

“Carl has a professional approach to his classroom teaching. He has a committed attitude to drama and theatre which combines very effectively with his good sense of humour. He encourages students who respond well to his enthusiasm.” Hazel Marks, Principal Stagecoach.

“Carl has completed freelance work for us and I have found him to be inspiring, enthusiastic and committed about working with young people and theatre. He has fresh ideas and engages well with participants. Carl got some of our young people involved in the Holocaust Memorial event which he devises work with passion and sensitivity. He has run workshops with children with learning difficulties and they loved working with him.” Lucy Phillips, Creative Learning Director, Forest Forge Theatre Company.

“Carl is a very enthusiastic, energetic and passionate workshop leader who brings his charismatic personality into his work.  He works well with young people of all skill levels who respond fully with his creative approach.  Carl’s organised and thorough approach to work has been invaluable and we look forward to working with him again in the near future.” James Bowden, Principal, Dorset School of Acting.

Carl’s workshops were of a very high standard, outstandingly resourced, appropriate for all age and abilities. The young people were all thoroughly engaged and enthused. The work was vibrant, colourful and exciting we felt proud to be a part of it. It was very well organised and lead safely. Staff and children were all made to feel welcome, included and important. Brilliant!” Sam Johnson,Teacher, Prince of Wales First School.

“The two workshops were excellent, materials were planned in advance and everything was organised and thought through. Our pupils (all special needs) responded very well to the workshop and Holly ensured that there was plenty of creative opportunity for them to have ownership over their work and to work independently. All of the pupils and staff enjoyed making the puppets and picked up transferrable skills. The parade was well organised and suitably noisy and colourful.” Penny Hamer Art Teacher, Westfield Arts College, Weymouth