Alexandra Palace



David Benedict is a culture critic and broadcaster. After reading drama at Hull University he worked as an actor and director before becoming daily columnist, theatre editor and associate arts editor of The Independent. He was arts editor of The Observer and in 2006 he joined Variety as chief London critic. He has written extensively for the Financial Times, Evening Standard, The Guardian and Wall Street Journal Europe and is joint lead columnist for The Stage where he also reviews theatre and opera. A regular guest on BBC’s Front Row and other TV and radio arts programmes, he also plays Tristram Hawkshaw on The Archers.

The Observer, Theatre

Susannah Clapp has been the theatre critic of the Observer since 1997. She was previously the theatre critic of Radio 3’s Nightwaves and the New Statesman. She helped to found the London Review of Books, where she was assistant editor for thirteen y ears. She has worked as a publisher’s reader and editor, and as the radio critic of the Sunday Times. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, she is the literary executor of Bruce Chatwin and Angela Carter and is the author of books about both writers: With Chatwin and A Card from Angela Carter.

The Observer and Whatsonstage, Dance and Theatre

Sarah Crompton is one of Britain’s most respected writers and broadcasters, commentating on all aspects of culture. She reviews theatre for WhatsOnStage and dance for the Observer.  Her work appears in the Guardian, the Sunday Times, The Times, and British and American Vogue. She produces a weekly theatre podcast “As the Actress Said to the Critic” with the actress Nancy Carroll. A regular contributor to the BBC’s Front Row, she was previously the Arts Editor in Chief of the Daily Telegraph, where she wrote a regular sports column for a decade.

The Stage, Regional Theatre

Dave Fargnoli is a freelance theatre critic, playwright, and associate writer for The Stage, as well as a regular member of The Stage Debut Awards judging panel. His own award-nominated plays have seen production in London and Edinburgh, and have toured to rural venues across Scotland. With almost two decades’ experience as a critic, Dave has reviewed shows all over the UK and internationally, from grand spectacles with cutting-edge effects to fringe productions with lo-fi aesthetics, and he strongly believes in championing challenging, inventive and inspiring work wherever it is found.

The Guardian, Scottish Theatre

Mark Fisher is a freelance theatre critic and feature writer based in Edinburgh and has written about theatre since the late-1980s. He is a theatre critic for The Guardian, a former editor of The List magazine and a contributor to publications all over the world. He is the co-editor of the play anthology Made in Scotland (1995), and the author of The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide (2012) and How to Write About Theatre (2015) – all Bloomsbury Methuen Drama.

The Times, Opera

Neil Fisher is executive culture & books editor of The Times and The Sunday Times. He is a lead critic for Gramophone magazine, and a regular contributor to Opera magazine. He also broadcasts on television and radio, including BBC Radio 3, Radio 4, Times Radio and has been featured on BBC Four coverage of the Cardiff Singer of the World competition. He has reported on operatic life from as far afield as Hong Kong, Venezuela and Cape Town. He has judged the Guildhall School of Music and Drama’s Gold Medal for opera singing and sat on the jury for the International Opera Awards.

Financial Times, Dance

Louise Levene is a novelist, critic and printmaker. She was a dance writer for the Independent and Independent on Sunday 1988-1998, dance critic for The Sunday Telegraph 19 98-2014 and has written on dance for the Financial Times since 2014. She has a degree in English from Oxford and a PhD in English Language from University College, London. She taught dance history as Adjunct Professor of the University of Notre Dame. The first of her four published novels, A Vision of Loveliness, was shortlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize, was a BBC radio Book at Bedtime and was televised by BBC4 in 2023.

Freelance, Opera

Mark Valencia is an opera critic who draws on a long career in theatre and drama education as well as an enduring passion for lyric theatre. For 12 years he reviewed theatre, musical theatre and opera for WhatsOnStage, and since 2018 he has been a critic for Opera magazine. In his spare time he covers classical music, plus yet more opera, for Bachtrack and Musical America.