An Open Letter from In Good Company to The Guardian re: Lyn Gardner

Lyn Gardener

Dear Katherine Viner and Alex Needham,

This is an open letter from In Good Company (the artist development programme at Derby Theatre) in response to the news that The Guardian will not renew Lyn Gardner’s contract as a theatre critic. It’s important that you understand the resolute depth of feeling from the grassroots of the creative industries, most of whom are saddened by this decision. 

Many artists in the East Midlands and beyond have expressed their dismay at this decision, fearing that this marks the beginning of a decline in the national criticism of the sort of bold, diverse and challenging work that Lyn Gardner passionately advocated for (and continues to do so through other channels). Whilst we appreciate The Guardian might be facing challenging economic uncertainty, like many in this country, we fear this decline will advance the absence of the arts across all our society. This subject is very topical at the moment and this decision might suggest instead of championing the arts at this challenging time, The Guardian seem content to shy away from the conversation.

Independent artists up and down the UK found hope in Lyn Gardner’s essential and unique presence. Her depth of theatrical knowledge and carefully considered criticism was not just afforded to those living in London but she championed risky work and profiled theatremakers across the entirety of the UK.

By extension, The Guardian had a unique place in the hearts and minds of many independent artists, characterised as one of the very few large national broadsheets that champion work beyond the conventional and critique it on a national platform. Giving creative’s work a platform by which to engage new audiences.

In Good Company champion contemporary theatre and supports artists that re-imagine what a theatrical experience can be and we are committed to supporting curious minds and risk takers. Lyn shared this vision for nurturing this bold and experimental work and adding her unique voice to their work gave it esteem and recognition.

The UK creative industries are growing, but will only do so as long as the grass roots; the makers and creators are supported, nurtured, challenged and advocated for. On behalf of thousands of independent creative professionals, we urge you to reconsider your decision and continue to champion and promote new and diverse voices.  


In Good Company 

In Good Company is the flagship professional, creative and business development programme for the East Midlands delivered by 5 venues, Derby Theatre, Attenborough Arts Centre in Leicester, Lincolnshire One Venues, The Old Library, Mansfield and Burton Brewhouse Arts