National Critics Institute

July 2 - 17, 2016


Welcome to the National Critics Institute!

If you're a critic, reporter, analyst or a cultural journalist in such fields as theater, film, music, dining, books and art, join us this summer for our annual intensive workshop for writers about the arts.

One of the O'Neill's oldest programs, the National Critics Institute is a two-week workshop, designed for arts writers and critics looking to strengthen their skills in an increasingly competitive and fast-paced industry. The Institute convenes concurrently with the National Playwrights Conference and the National Music Theater Conference.

Director Chris Jones leads America's leading boot camp for arts writers, offering fellows an intensive course of study for writers of all experience levels, especially for those in mid-career. However, each year a small number of young and aspiring critics join the group.

NCI_2010_Critics_in_Discussion.jpgOur program includes writing workshops in the crafts of reviewing theater, film, performance and food; workshops in storytelling and analysis; workshops in writing more exciting profiles in the field of arts and entertainment; insights into the critical process with a faculty composed of America's leading arts critics; explorations of the relationship of critics with social media; study of best practices when it comes blogging and other online sites; reviewing visits to other Connecticut theaters, and many opportunities to network with other critics and other creative professionals. We watch shows together, review restaurants together and explore the business of arts writing for all sides.

_DSC8992.jpgThe workshop makes unique use of the creative professionals working in and around the O'Neill Center to help writers gain insights into the specialist areas of the arts, and to understand arts journalism from all sides.

As detailed in a profile piece in American Theater Magazine, the range of this historic and prestigious program have expanded to better reflect the needs of the changed profession. This is now the only such major program in America that focuses on arts criticism and reporting, and the faculty that teach here each year are a formidable group.

Everyone has a great time. Did we mention there is a beach?

Come join us, and reinvigorate your writing life!

Click here to apply



Thank you for your interest!  

For further information and/or for advise about applying, contact Associate Director of the Institute Mark Charney at, or the O'Neill Literary Office by phone at 860.443.5378 ext.227 & by email at