Sheffield Arena prepares to re-open doors to live events
01 July 2021
Since Sheffield Arena hosted its last show, Cirque Du Soleil’s Crystal back in March 2020, the venue, like the rest of the Entertainment industry has had to close its doors to indoor entertainment and adapt its business model by hosting a new range of events to those that have regularly performed at the venue over the past 30 years in showbusiness.
From Drive-in Cinemas, Car Park Boxing, Comedy in the Car Park and the Young Driver Scheme through to the work in supporting the NHS and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals the Arena has been very much part of the community with over 500,000 customers using the Arena across the last year whilst the venue has been “shutdown”.
In March 2020 and in support of the local Covid-19 response the venue began working with Sheffield Teaching Hospitals as a storage and distribution centre for PPE and hospital equipment and then a drive-through blood testing site, that, over a 9 month period saw some 50,000 vehicles using the venues drive-thru phlebotomy service.
Then on January 25 2021 the Arena was opened to the public as Vaccination Centre in what was described as the most important event the venue has and will ever host. Since the doors to the Vaccination Centre opened it has been a 24/7 operation involving over 500 volunteers, clinical staff, administrators, stewards and Sheffield City Trust staff.
When the Sheffield Arena Vaccination Centre closes on 23 July 2021 over 400,000 patients will have received their vaccination at the venue, with the 173 consecutive event days creating a Sheffield Arena record unlikely to ever be beaten - the longest previous engagement at the Sheffield Arena was set by Les Misérables when the West-End show performed at the venue for 35 consecutive days in 1999.
Kirsten Major, Chief Executive, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The Arena team and Sheffield City Trust have been incredible in their support for us managing the response to COVID-19. From storing stocks of PPE and other vital equipment to facilitating the establishment of the drive through blood testing service and finally becoming the home of one of our large NHS Vaccination Centres they have responded to our requests without hesitation and gone above and beyond what we asked. We would like to say a thank you to everyone involved and wish them well as they return to hosting fantastic events for us all to enjoy as lockdown restrictions ease. They have been a fundamental part of the NHS response to COVID in the city.”
From 26 July, the new Sheffield NHS Vaccination Centre will be based at Longley Lane, Sheffield, adjacent to the Northern General Hospital.
Dom Stokes, Sheffield City Trust’s Head of Live Events and Venues who is responsible for managing Sheffield Arena as well as Sheffield City Hall, said: “We are extremely proud of the role Sheffield Arena has played in being front and centre of the city’s response to Covid-19 and the vaccination programme. As an organisation, our core values are promoting and enhancing the health and wellbeing of communities, so it has been fantastic to be able to utilise our heritage and event logistics skills to support our community and the health services over this period .
“Our priority now however is the future and to prepare to relaunch our amazing venues and reopen when we are allowed. In truth that work has never stopped and we are now looking forward to being able to welcome people back to the Arena to enjoy the many events we have scheduled in the coming weeks and months.”
As soon as the Vaccination Centre moves out of the Arena venue staff will be working flat out preparing the venue for the new ice hockey season that opens on Sunday 19 September when the Steelers play Nottingham Panthers followed by local band Bring Me The Horizon & Gerry Cinnamon who are both playing sold-out gigs at the venue before the end of the month.
The Arena along with its sister venue Sheffield City Hall are also beginning a recruitment drive across a wide range of roles and encouraging anyone interested in working at the venues to visit www.sheffieldcitytrust.org/jobs with a wide range of roles being added daily.