Sheffield Theatres announce their Together Season in the Crucible
24 September 2020
Live theatre is set to return to Sheffield this autumn as Sheffield Theatres announce their Together Season in the Crucible.
The first show in the Crucible will be the world premiere of Here’s What She Said to Me by Oladipo Agboluaje and directed by Mojisola Elufowoju (Friday 30 October – Saturday 14 November).
Maxine Peake and Imelda Staunton star in a double bill from Alan Bennett’s acclaimed Talking Heads monologues, as recently seen on the BBC and soon to open at the Bridge Theatre, before transferring to Leeds Playhouse (Monday 9 – Wednesday 11 November).
Returning to Sheffield following its 2016 sell-out run is Operation Crucible by Kieran Knowles(Chicken Soup), marking 80 years since the bombing raid on Sheffield’s world-renowned steel works (Tuesday 17 - Saturday 28 November).
Then for two nights only Far Gone, by the theatre’s Bank, supported artist John Rwothomack, returns following its premiere in the Studio Theatre last year (Thursday 3 – Friday 4 December).
And lastly, but never least, Sheffield Legend, Damian Williams saves Christmas with Damian’s Pop-Up Panto! (Wednesday 16 December - Sunday 3 January), a fun-sized festive treat for the whole family. When a baddie steals the joy of pantomime, will Dame Dolly and her friends manage to rescue it? Oh yes they will!
The Together Season will be brought to life with a unifying, cost saving design by season creative associates Ben Stones (Set) and Lucy Carter (Lighting).
During the autumn, Sheffield Theatres will also be running an Open Submissions programme, inviting local artists to submit work to be performed on the Crucible stage in early 2021, and finally Anthony Lau joins will join them as Associate Artistic Director, supported by Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme.
The Together Season will be presented in a socially distanced format, and goes on sale to members on Wednesday 30 September and on general sale to the public from Tuesday 6 October. You can get priority booking on all shows in the season by becoming a member today.
Sheffield Theatre’s Artistic Director, Robert Hastie, explains:
“We’ve called this season Together because that’s the feeling we’ve missed most, and the experience that theatre does best. We’ve all been through – and are still going through – a lot. Now, more than ever, the experience of being together feels vital. This season offers a huge welcome back to the Crucible for the audiences, artists and staff we’ve missed so much this last six months. Together is a celebration of theatre, in all its glorious forms, with drama, music, comedy and pantomime all taking to the stage over the coming months.
I believe starting to make work again is the right thing to do – the best way to serve our audiences and the best way to support our artistic community. Sheffield loves its theatre, and I’ve never felt that love more powerfully expressed than during the last few months, when people have told us how much they’ve missed it. We’re hugely grateful to the audiences who’ve shown us such support and solidarity, and we know that we’ve now got an important part to play in the recovery of our great city and region.
I’m very excited to be joined as we embark on this journey by our new Associate Artistic Director, Anthony Lau. A director of exceptional talent and vision, he will help us extend the scope and ambition of our work, and it’s a real pleasure to be welcoming him to the team. The role is a new initiative supported by the RTYDS, with whom we’re proud to have worked many times in the past, and whose commitment to nurturing and championing the wealth of diverse talent in the next generation of theatre leaders is inspiring and invaluable.
We’re announcing the first half of the Together season today, with lots more to follow. It brings a range of voices to the stage, and while we can’t open our other spaces just yet, we’re packing the Crucible with all the energy and excitement we’d normally be sharing across all three venues.
I’m excited that our co-production with our company in residence, Utopia Theatre, Here’s What She Said to Me, originally slated for last season, will now move to the Crucible stage. This moving and intimate picture of three generations of Nigerian women spread across two continents, is directed by Utopia’s Artistic Director, Mojisola Elufowoju.
One of the positive consequences of the pandemic has been greater collaboration and a powerful sense of our interconnectivity as theatres and theatre-makers. I’m thrilled that thanks to the staunch support of Alan Bennett and our friends at The Bridge, we can bring Maxine Peake and Imelda Staunton to the Crucible to perform in Alan Bennett’s classic Talking Heads, recently presented on the BBC. Maxine and Imelda will then perform at Leeds Playhouse.
Operation Crucible returns after a sell-out 2016 Studio run, telling a story that captures the strength we find in friendship at times of great adversity, and casting a light on the night of the Sheffield Blitz in its 80th anniversary year.
Far Gone, a blistering one-man tour de force written and performed by our supported artist John Rwothomack, also makes a welcome return, having started life as a scratch performance in our Studio before growing into a full-length piece at Theatre Deli. It’ll be a joy to see John lighting up the Crucible stage.
And then, I’m so delighted that panto is popping-up with the irrepressible Damian Williams, our much-loved Dame, leading a company that promises plenty of festive fun and laughter. Pantomime is such an important part of our audiences’ year – Christmas in Sheffield just wouldn’t be the same without Damian.
A key element of the season is collaboration with local companies and artists. Looking to the future, we’re seeking more work made in Yorkshire that demands a platform through our Open Submissions programme. We’re inviting artists and companies from across the region to submit productions for programming in the second half of the season. It’s crucial not only that we make this process open and transparent, but that we broaden the pool of those who have a say in what gets seen on our stages. As Artistic Director, I’ll be observing but not leading this process, which will instead be convened by our new Associate Artistic Director Anthony Lau with a wide-ranging panel of artists, audience members and representatives of the theatre. Next month we’ll open for submissions.
We know that being together means taking a little extra care at the moment. We’ll be drawing on all that we learned as the host of one of the government’s pilot events in the summer, when we welcomed hundreds of people for the World Snooker Championships, and ensuring that everyone is offered a warm, relaxed and safe welcome back.
We’re going to be doing things differently for a while. We’re making ambitious programming possible by committing the Crucible to a unifying, cost-saving design framework, that creatively responds to social distancing on and off stage. It’ll take our audiences on a journey, and allow us to focus our resources on employing as many people brilliant people as we can – brilliant people with big ideas who can transform our space with imaginative reinvention of the set, prop and costume stores we’ve built up over years. Each show we produce will have its own full creative team, responding to the season design by creative associates Ben Stones and Lucy Carter.
I can’t wait for us to be together again, safely socially distanced, to experience incredible work once more on the iconic Crucible stage.”
For more information and tickets to Sheffield Theatre’s autumn season of shows in the Crucible, visit: www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk