Cindy Bandle Young Critics

In May 2007, just as AWJ was asking “Where are all the female critics?” during a panel discussion led by member Kelly Kleiman, director of education and community programs at Goodman Theatre Willa Taylor was doing the same. To encourage the next generation of critics, AWJ Chicago and The Goodman created The Young Critics Circle, renamed the Cindy Bandle Young Critics Program, in honor of the theater's late press director. 

The Young Critics Program is dedicated to preparing young women to take on the world of theater criticism. Now in its seventh year, high school juniors from the Chicago area are coached and mentored by AWJ members. Students see all the season's productions at The Goodman, write critiques for each and attend workshops twice a month on Saturdays. At the end of the season, the girls record their favorite critiques at National Public Radio's studios.


An inside look at the Cindy Bandle Young Critics program, its founders and the young women who have experienced the program.


Learn More

AWJ Chicago's past mentors and presenters include Amy Bernstein, Claire Bushey, Elena Ferrarin, Karen Hawkins, Michelle Holmes, Carla K. Johnson, Melba Lara, Caryn Rousseau, Susy Schultz, Joanne Van Alroth, Kelly Kleiman, Dawn Raftery, Kerry Reid, Anitra Rowe Schulte and Cheryl Corley.

To learn more about the program and the next season, contact program chair Cheryl Corley.

Some past critiques can be read on the Goodman Theatre's YCC blog.