Sheffield Theatres Wins South Bank Sky Arts Award

10 Dec 2020

Sheffield Theatres has triumphed at the South Bank Sky Arts Awards, taking home the Theatre award for new musical, Standing at the Sky’s Edge.

The annual South Bank Sky Arts Awards are presented by Lord Melvyn Bragg who presented Artistic Director and director of the show, Robert Hastie, with the award at a closed ceremony yesterday. Standing at the Sky’s Edge won in a category that also included nominations for Sheffield Theatres’ production of Life of Pi and the Jamie Lloyd Company’s production of Cyrano de Bergerac.  

Speaking of the win, Robert Hastie commented: “If 2020 had gone to plan we’d be in the middle of remounting Standing at the Sky’s Edge in the Crucible, ahead of a run at the National Theatre.

"This award belongs to a vast number of people, first and foremost Richard Hawley and Chris Bush, two great artists and fine Sheffielders, in a city full of fine people and great artists. It also belongs to the passionate and dedicated staff and every single freelancer who played a vital role in bringing this story to the stage.

"Standing at the Sky’s Edge is a show about community, about bringing people together, about resilience and desperation and humour and being a neighbour and living in close proximity to other human beings. This is the kind of theatre we want to be making again and I can’t wait until we can do that, and welcome our loyal, supportive audiences back through our doors.”

With music and lyrics by Richard Hawley and book by Chris BushStanding at the Sky’s Edge told the story of three families across 60 turbulent years in a heart-swelling, heart-breaking love song to Park Hill, Sheffield’s concrete utopia. Directed by Sheffield Theatres’ Artistic Director, Robert Hastie, this award-winning musical was set to return to the Crucible stage this Christmas before transferring to the National Theatre in 2021. Discussions about the future life of the show are positive and on-going.

During its sell-out run in March 2019, Standing at the Sky’s Edge resonated with residents of Sheffield all across the city. Park Hill was lit up with bespoke artwork by artist Kid Acne and seen bright over the city centre; there were live performances of Richard Hawley’s iconic songs on trams across the city; local community choirs filled the Crucible foyer with songs from the heart, and current and ex-residents of Park Hill shared what life was really like living up on the sky’s edge in a specially created audio piece.

The show was equally celebrated in the press with comments including ‘glorious musical tribute to an iconic Sheffield building’ (The Stage); ‘irresistible’ (The Times); ‘a force of nature’ (Daily Mail) and a ‘heartfelt exploration of home’ (Guardian). The production also won Best Musical Production at the 2019 UK Theatre Awards.

The Awards ceremony, which includes a special performance from Standing at the Sky’s Edge will be free to watch on Sky Arts, Freeview channel 11, at 8pm on Sunday 20 December.