Clive Alexander Barnes CBE (13 May 1927 – 19 November 2008) was an English writer and critic. From 1965 to 1977 he was the dance and theater critic for the New York Times, the most powerful position he had held, since its theater critics' reviews historically have had great influence on the success or failure of Broadway productions.
Born in Lambeth, London, Barnes was educated at Emanuel School, and St Catherine's College, Oxford. He was the dance and drama critic at the New York Post since 1978, and senior consulting editor at Dance Magazine, where he wrote a monthly column, "Attitudes". Late in life, he also contributed regularly to the British journal "Dance Now". He also continued to edit and write for British newspapers such as The Times and the Daily Express, and the weekly Spectator magazine.
Barnes authored and contributed to numerous books related to theater and the performing arts, particularly dance. These include four volumes of 50 Best Plays of the American Theatre, nine series of Best American Plays (with John Gassner), American Ballet Theatre: A 25 Year Retrospective (with Elizabeth Kaye), the foreword to Masters of Movement: Portraits of America's Great Choreographers (by Rose Eichenbaum), Ballet in Britain Since the War, New York Times Directory of the Theater, Ballet Here and Now, Dance Scene USA, Inside American Ballet Theatre, as well as biographies of Tennessee Williams and Rudolf Nureyev.
Regarding television, Barnes said, "It is the first truly democratic culture, the first culture available to everyone and entirely governed by what the people want. The most terrifying thing is what people do want" (New York Times, December 30, 1969).
He is also widely believed to have said this about his profession: "A critic is someone who rides in after the battle and shoots the wounded."
Clive Barnes Awards
The Clive Barnes Foundation, which was established in 2009 to administer the Clive Barnes Awards.
- Longtime Post Arts Critic Dies at 81: Clive Barnes Covered Dance, Theater for Decades by Mary Huhn, NY Post, November 19, 2008
- Death of a Legend: Curtain Falls on Post's Clive Barnes by Mary Huhn, NY Post, November 20, 2008
- As Ever, A Gentlemen, NY Post theater section, November 20, 2008
- Clive Barnes, 1927–2008, NY Post editorial, November 20, 2008