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Standing at The Sky’s Edge

Standing At The Sky’s Edge’s portrayal of high-rise communities in the iconic concrete housing estate could hardly be bettered.

It’s an evocative setting.

Park Hill was built in the 1950’s as a solution to the city’s social housing. This new musical is all about that estate, its residents and is something very special indeed. It celebrates the people, place and  times.

Written by Chris Bush and with songs by Richard Hawley this new musical delicately tells the story of three very different families through generations in the 1960s, 80s, and 2000s on Sheffield’s most notorious estate. 

The songs? 

Well, here, Hawley’s lethargic northern atmospheric music sound like being punched in the face feels, in a good way. As comforting as a premium whiskey. 

The music pulses and then retracts before erupting in emotional outbursts. The results are kind of brilliant: a show of world-beating standard yet still intimate and gentle, a cherishing of the mundane, a blast of the everyday, a love of life. 

The story? Bush’s book cleverly tells the tale of three generations of Park Hill tenants. The words probably read like quirky poetry on the page but they cut through the air with wit & warmth when spoken. 

It is inevitably kaleidoscopic and somewhat beautifully fragmented, leaving the audience to piece together the connections. It’s political too; unpacking the destructive role of class in British society. It feels vital in its portrait of a divided nation.

Technically, Alex Young delivers an all-round emotionally true performance that grips from the start with ‘Lady Solitude’. Nevertheless, a fine cast shine consistently.

In the best possible sense, Standing At The Sky’s Edge is like a 21st Century Blood Brothers: authentic socialist principles intact, a gripping story and frankly sensational songs.

We get the industrial pain, Thatcher despair, Brexit Britain & more, it wears its political heart on its sleeve. It isn’t West End razzle dazzle, it is theatre rooted in its time(s) and place. 

There are some big gloriously unifying moments, too — all the ingredients are here for a massive crossover theatre moment, and it couldn’t happen to a more deserving creative team. 

In Act 1 closing number ‘There’s a Storm A-Comin’ a sofa is lobbed off a balcony, litter bins are emptied across the stage & the current political crisis context lends the audacious choreography  an added intensity. 

Robert Hastie’s production delights in being visceral. Ben Stone’s concrete multi-level design are to be both stunningly simple and enchanting; it all adds up to something greater than the sum of its parts. 

Seriously, this show made grown men around me weep, made me fall deeper in love with Sheffield than I have ever been before, could save as many relationships as it ignites. It touched people around me deeply. 

Act 2 swells the heart completely and invites the audience in with the unavailingly stirring ‘Standing At The Sky’s Edge’ during this storming scene the company takes off; ensemble are startlingly confrontational. 

I mean, bloody hell. 

Later on, intimacy suits: ‘After The Rain’ is so fragile as to nearly come apart at the seams. Importantly, it was a lot of fun.

This is a musical that, in Robert Hastie’s beautifully clear production, left the heart full & the brain buzzing. 

Standing at The Sky’s Edge deserves to transfer to our Royal National Theatre. 

Cheers, Rufus. 

Sheffield Theatres announces new season to complete programming for 2019

As his production of Richard Hawley and Chris Bush’s Standing at the Sky’s Edge opens in the Crucible, Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres, Robert Hastie, announces programming for 2019.

The new season sees two additional world premières with two adaptions of bestselling books – Matt Haig’s Reasons to Stay Alive presented in a co-production with English Touring Theatre, and Giles Foden’s The Last King of Scotland. Reasons to Stay Alive is imagined for the stage and directed by Jonathan Watkins who returns to Sheffield Theatres following the success of Kes, with text by April de Angelis. Following performances at Sheffield Theatres, the production embarks on a national tour. For The Last King of Scotland, Gbolahan Obisesan, directs Steve Waters’ adaptation. Full casting is announced for Lolita Chakrabarti’s adaptation of Yann Martel’s Life of Pi. Max Webster directs Hiran Abeysekera (Pi), Mina Anwar (Ma, Orange Juice), Kate Colebrook (Richard Parker), Kammy Darweish (Pi’s Father), Fred Davis (Richard Parker), Tara Divina (Rani), Tom Espiner (Father Martin, Commander Grant-Jones), Raj Ghatak (Mamaji, Pandit-Ji), Owain Gwynn (Richard Parker), Syreeta Kumar (Mrs Biology Kumar, Zaida Khan), David K.S.TSE (Mr Okamoto), Habib Nasib Nader (Cook), and Gabby Wong (Lulu Chen).

The season is completed with two major revivals – Charlotte Keatley’s My Mother Said I Never Should, in a co-production with fingersmiths, presented in British Sign Language and spoken English; and for Christmas, Guys and Dolls directed by Hastie.

 

Also announced today, is the return of Sheffield Theatres’ award-winning musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie. Currently also running in the West End – at the Apollo Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue, Dan Gillespie Sells and Tom MacRae’s musical, directed by Jonathan Butterell, will start a new UK tour at Sheffield Theatres, running from 8 to 29 February 2020.

 

Robert Hastie said today, “This year at Sheffield Theatres shows the scale of our ambition and the strength of our commitment to home-grown, far-reaching new work. Standing at the Sky’s Edge is followed by Lolita Chakribati’s adaptation of Life of Pi, and by a new season that brings together some of the country’s most exciting theatre artists to tell stories from all over the world. I’m thrilled that Sheffield-born Matt Haig’s inspirational story – Reasons to Stay Alive, will be told with searing physicality in a première by Jonathan Watkins and April de Angelis, and it’s fantastic to be working with ETT to take this ground-breaking piece to audiences around the country. Gbolahan Obisesan and Steve Waters have both made memorable theatre out of modern history, and their take on the Idi Amin story in The Last King of Scotland promises to deliver a powerful dramatic punch. And Charlotte Keatley’s reimagining of her contemporary classic My Mother Said I Never Should to focus on the experience of a family of deaf women is perfect material for the pioneering work of Jeni Draper and fingersmiths. Rounding off the season, I am looking forward to bringing the timeless joy of Guys and Dolls to the stage, and the return of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie to its Sheffield birth place, completing a season that gives Sheffield audiences a world of theatre on our three iconic stages.”

 CRUCIBLE

A Sheffield Theatres Production

LIFE OF PI

Based on the novel by Yann Martel

Adapted by Lolita Chakrabarti

Director Max Webster; Designer: Tim Hatley; Puppetry and Movement Director: Finn Caldwell Puppetry Designers: Nick Barnes and Finn Caldwell; Lighting Designer: Tim Lutkin

Composer: Andrew Mackay; Sound Designer: Carolyn Downing; Video Designer: Andrzej Goulding Casting Director: Polly Jerrold; Associate Designer: Ross Edwards

28 June – 20 July 2019

Press night: 8 July at 7.15pm

 After a cargo ship sinks in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean, there are five survivors stranded on a single lifeboat – a hyena, a zebra, an orangutan, a sixteen-year-old boy and a hungry Bengal tiger. Time is against them, nature is harsh, who will survive?

Based on one of the most extraordinary and best-loved works of fiction – winner of the Man Booker Prize, selling over fifteen million copies worldwide – Life of Pi is a dazzling new theatrical adaptation of an epic journey of endurance and hope. A film of the book, adapted by Ang Lee, was released in 2012.

Award winning writer Yann Martel’s works include The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios (1993), Self (1996), We Ate the Children Last (2004), Beatrice and Virgil (2010) – a New York Times Bestseller and a Financial Times Best Book, 101 Letters to a Prime Minister (2012) – a collection of letters to the prime minister of Canada; and The High Mountains of Portugal (2016).

Lolita Chakrabarti is an award-winning actress and playwright. Her writing credits include Red Velvet which opened at the Tricycle Theatre in London in 2012 before returning there in 2014, transferring to New York and the West End. Red Velvet was nominated for nine major awards including two Oliviers. She won the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Most Promising Playwright, the Critics’ Circle Award for Most Promising Playwright and the AWA Award for Arts and Culture. She has adapted Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino for Manchester International Festival 2019 working alongside digital projection company 59 Productions, Ballet Rambert and Sidi Larbi Cherkhaoui. She recently curated and wrote for The Greatest Wealth, a salute to the NHS on its 70th birthday, at The Old Vic.  She produced Of Mary, a short film directed by Adrian Lester which won Best Short Film at PAFF, Los Angeles in 2012. As an actress she has worked on stage and screen for the last thirty years.  Recent credits include Fanny and Alexander at The Old Vic, Hamlet at RADA directed by Kenneth Branagh, Born to Kill (Channel 4), The Casual Vacancy (BBC/HBO), and she is soon to be seen on Riviera (Sky Atlantic) and Defending the Guilty (BBC).

Hiran Abeysekera plays Pi. His theatre work includes The Prisoner (Théâtre Des Bouffes Du Nord), Cymbeline, Hamlet (Royal Shakespeare Company), Peter Pan (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), and Behind The Beautiful Forevers, War Horse Prom (National Theatre). For television his work includes Find Me in Paris and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

 Mina Anwar returns to Sheffield Theatres to play Ma, Orange Juice – she previously appeared in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (also West End) and King Lear.  Her other theatre work includes Oats (RSC), Birth International Theatre Festival (Royal Exchange), The Infidel – The Musical (Theatre Royal Stratford East) and The Iron Man (Young Vic). Her work for television includes Damned, The A Word, In the Club, Upstart Crow, Cuffs, Marley’s Ghosts, Scott and Bailey, Moving On, Happy Valley, House of Anubis, A Passionate Woman, Scoop, The Sarah Jane Adventures, Shameless and Love Soup; and for film, The Infidel and Maybe Baby.

Kate Colebrook plays Richard Parker. For theatre, her work includes La Princesse Légère (Opera Comique Paris), Don Q (Flintlock Theatre Company), Ariodante (Festival D’Aix-en Provence), War Horse (National Theatre) and Flare Path (Theatre Royal Haymarket). For television, her work includes Call My Agent and Versailles; and for film, Retour à Bollène.

Kammy Darweish plays Pi’s Father. His theatre credits include Approaching Empty (Kiln Theatre and national tour), All My Sons (Nottingham Playhouse), East is East (Nottingham Playhouse/Northern Stage/UK tour), Wild Honey (Hampstead Theatre), Antony and Cleopatra, Holy Warriors (Shakespeare’s Globe), City Madam, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Marat Sade (RSC), Blood and Gifts, Conduct Unbecoming, Romeo and Juliet, Hiawatha, Peer Gynt (National Theatre), Mirror for Princes, The Bottle, Pericles, Midnight’s Children (Cardboard Citizens/RSC), Dance Like a Man (Tara Arts), The Merchant of Venice (Phoenix Theatre), The Snow Queen, Don’t Drink the Water, Julius Caesar, Woyzeck (Bristol Old Vic). His television credits include Ackley Bridge, Saddam’s Tribe: Bound by Blood, White Teeth; and for film Skyfall, 31 North 62 East, The Omen and Colour Me Kubrick.

Fred Davis plays Richard Parker. His work with Gyre & Gimble includes puppeteer of Napoleon the chimpanzee in The Hartlepool Monkey (UK Tour), Mani and Tonk the orangutans in Running Wild (Chichester Festival Theatre, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and UK Tour).

Other work as a performer includes Peter Pan (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Pass It On and Rattigan’s Nijinsky (Chichester Festival Theatre), Peter Pan, A Christmas Carol, The Hundred and One Dalmatians, The Witches and The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe (Chichester Festival Youth Theatre), The Tempest (Petersfield Shakespeare Festival) and Experiment (Nuffield Southampton Theatres).

Tara Divina plays Rani. She recently graduated from Mountview. Her stage work includes Not Such Quiet Girls (Opera North); and for film, the forthcoming Blinded by Light.

Tom Espiner plays Father Martin, Commander Grant-Jones. His theatre work includes Berberian Sound Studio (Donmar Warehouse), Peggy For You (Hampstead Theatre and West End), Tombstone Tales (Arcola Theatre), The Caucasian Chalk Circle (Unicorn Theatre), Twelfth Night, The Winter’s Tale, Macbeth (Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory and Barbican Pit), Anything Goes, Love’s Labour’s Lost (National Theatre), The Firework-Maker’s Daughter (Told By An Idiot / Lyric Hammersmith), Jason and the Argonauts (BAC), and for Sound&Fury, Kursk (also Young Vic and Sydney Opera House), War Music, The Watery Part of the World, and Ether Frolics. His television work includes Anybody’s Nightmare and The Jewish Revolt; and for film, Stoned.

Raj Ghatak returns to Sheffield Theatres to play Mamaji, Pandit-Ji – he previously appeared in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie. His other theatre work includes The Kite Runner, Miss Meena and the Masala Queens (UK tours), Drones Baby Drones (Arcola Theatre), The Low Road, The Spiral, Free Outgoing, Shades/Unheard Voices (Royal Court Theatre), Free Outgoing (Traverse Theatre), The Bad, Sad and Broken Hearted, Soho Cinders (Soho Theatre), The Secret Garden (Edinburgh Festival Theatre/Toronto), and Bombay Dreams (West End). His television work includes Hetty Feather, Taboo, Dead Set, The 7:39 and Synchronicity; and for film, Christopher Robin, Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie, Starter for 10, and Birthday Girl.

Owain Gwynn plays Richard Parker. His theatre credits include War Horse, The Light Princess (National Theatre), The Lorax (The Old Vic), Peter Pan, Porgy & Bess (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Deffro’r Gwanwyn (Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru), and Hamlet, Not About Heroes, Ghosts, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog (Theatr Clwyd). Television credits include Britannia; and for film, Apostle.

Syreeta Kumar plays Mrs Biology Kumar, Zaida Khan. Her theatre credits include Equus (Theatre Royal Stratford East and national tour), The Breakfast Plays (Traverse Theatre), Made in India, The Husbands (Soho Theatre), Twelfth Night, Midnight’s Children, Hamlet, Camino Real, Much Ado About Nothing (Royal Shakespeare Company) and Little Red Riding Hood (Theatre Royal Stratford East). Television credits include Coronation Street as series regular D.C. Leslie

David K.S.TSE plays Mr Okamoto. For theatre, his work includes From Shore to Shore (On the Wire/UK tour), Chimerica (Almeida Theatre and Harold Pinter Theatre), The Arrest of Ai Wei Wei (Hampstead Theatre), Yellow Gentlemen (Oval House), Cross-mopolitan (Chung Ying), Play Stars (Soho Theatre), and Rashomon (Riverside Studios). For television, his work includes Tokyo Trial, Chimerica, Devs, DCI Banks and Cracker; and for film, Deus in Machina, Paradise War, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Spy Game and Bhaji on the Beach.

Habib Nasib Nader plays Cook. His theatre work includes Secret Cinema: Star Wars (The Empire Strikes Back), Downtown Paradise (Welsh Fargo Theatre Company), The Grouch (West Yorkshire Playhouse), and White Open Spaces (Sweden National Touring/Pentabus Theatre and Soho Theatre). Television work includes Zapped, Law and Order UK, Come Fly With Me, Beehive, Mistresses and Little Britain; and for film, Four Warriors, Under Milk Wood, The Golden Compass, Revolver and The Libertine.

Gabby Wong plays Lulu Chen. For theatre, her work includes Pah La (Royal Court Theatre), Dear Elizabeth (Gate Theatre), ManCoin (Vault Festival), Troilus & Cressida, The Jew of Malta, Love’s Sacrifice, Volpone (RSC), The Winter’s Tale, Macbeth (National Theatre), and Doctor Faustus (Duke of York’s/ Jamie Lloyd Company). For television, her work includes Strangers; and for film, Rogue One – A Star Wars Story.

Max Webster was the inaugural Baylis Director at the Old Vic and is now an Associate Director at the theatre where his work includes Fanny and Alexander, Cover My Tracks and Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax. His other stage work includes the forthcoming The Merry Widow (ENO), The Jungle Book (Northampton/Fiery Angel UK tour), The Winter’s Tale (Lyceum, Edinburgh), King Lear (Royal & Derngate, Northampton/UK tour), Mary Stuart (PARCO Productions, Tokyo), The Twits (Leicester Curve/UK tour), Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare’s Globe/International Tour), Orlando, To Kill a Mockingbird, My Young and Foolish Heart (Royal Exchange Manchester), Shostakovich’s Hamlet

(City of London Symphonia), James and the Giant Peach, My Generation (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Twelfth Night (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Anna Karenina (Arcola Theatre), The Chalk Circle (Aarohan Theatre, Nepal), Carnival Under the Rainbow and Feast Kakulu (Hilton Arts Festival, South Africa).

STUDIO

A Sheffield Theatres and English Touring Theatre production

World Première

REASONS TO STAY ALIVE

By Matt Haig

Imagined for the stage by Jonathan Watkins

Text written by April de Angelis

Director Jonathan Watkins

 13 – 28 September

Press night: 18 September, 7.45pm

‘Life is waiting for you. Hang on in there if you can. Life is always worth it.’

At 24 Matt’s world collapsed under the weight of depression. This is the true story of his journey out of crisis; a profoundly uplifting exploration of living and loving better. The first theatrical adaptation of Matt Haig’s frank and funny bestseller. This play with music and movement, imagined for the stage by Jonathan Watkins, celebrates what it means to be alive.

Matt Haig is a British author for children and adults. His memoir Reasons to Stay Alive was a number one bestseller, staying in the British top ten for 46 weeks. His children’s book A Boy Called Christmas was a runaway hit and is translated in over 25 languages. His novels for adults include the award-winning The Radleys and The Humans. He won the TV Book Club ‘book of the series’, and has been shortlisted for a Specsavers National Book Award. The Humans was chosen as a World Book Night title. His children’s novels have won the Smarties Gold Medal, the Blue Peter Book of the Year, been shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and nominated for the Carnegie Medal three times.

April De Angelis’ work includes Wild East (Young Vic), The Village adapted from Lope de Vega’s Fuenteovejuna (Theatre Royal Stratford East), My Brilliant Friend adapted from Elena Ferrante’s novels (Rose Theatre Kingston), Rune (Old Vic Stoke), After Electra (Plymouth Theatre Royal and Tricycle Theatre), Jumpy (Royal Court and Duke of York’s), Catch (a collaboration with four other female playwrights) and Wild East (Royal Court), A Gloriously Mucky Business (Lyric Hammersmith), Calais (Paines Plough/Oran Mor), Country (Terror Season, Southwark Playhouse), an adaptation of Wuthering Heights (Birmingham Rep Theatre), A Laughing Matter (Out of Joint Theatre Company, National Theatre), The Warwickshire Testimony (RSC, The Other Place), The Positive Hour (Out of Joint Theatre/National Tour) and Playhouse Creatures (Sphinx Theatre Company, later revived by The Old Vic Theatre).

Jonathan Watkins directed and adapted KES (Sheffield Crucible Theatre, UK) a full-length dance-theatre production of the book ‘A Kestrel for a Knave’ by Barry Hines and created the first dance adaptation of George Orwell’s modern classic 1984 for Northern Ballet (UK Tour and Sadler’s Wells Theatre, May 2016). 1984 won Best New Dance Production at The Southbank Sky Arts Awards 2016 and was broadcast on the BBC with a DVD release by Opus Arte. Other credits include; Silent Vision, Stop Me When I’m Stuck, In The Presence of Others (Royal Ballet at Linbury Studio Theatre), As One (Royal Ballet), Diana and Actaeon for the production Metamorphosis: Titian (Royal Opera House/BBC Imagine film), Beyond Prejudice, Free Falling (Curve Foundation, Edinburgh Fringe Festival), NOW (New York City Ballet), Anger Fix (Sadler’s Wells), From Within and Onwards (Royal Ballet School), Push, Pull and all in-between and Osmosis (Hong Kong Performing Arts Centre), Together Alone (Ballet Black), Eventual Progress (Ekaterinburg Ballet Theatre, Russia),  Present Process (Ballet Manila, Philippines), A Northern Trilogy (Northern Ballet), and Crash (Texas Ballet Theatre). He also worked as Movement Director on Road by Jim Cartwright (Royal Court Theatre), People by Alan Bennett (National Theatre), The Machine (Manchester International Festival/Donmar Warehouse/New York Park Avenue Armoury), Aristocrats and Coriolanus (Donmar Warehouse). On film Route 67 for The Slice Project. Sofa, which he also directed, and Bunker for Channel 4’s Random Acts series. He produced and directed the Iphone Dance Series, a collection of Iphone shot dance films and recently directed the Saint-Petersburg Film Festival selected short Imperfect Perfection. 

 CRUCIBLE

A Sheffield Theatres Production

World Première

THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND

Based on the novel by Giles Foden

Adapted for the stage by Steve Waters

Director Gbolahan Obisesan

27 September – 19 October

Press night: 1 October, 7pm

‘He is the sickness and you maintain that sickness’

Idi Amin is the self-declared President of Uganda. When Scottish medic Nicholas Garrigan becomes his personal physician, he is catapulted into Amin’s inner circle. A useful asset for the British Secret Service, is Garrigan the man on the inside, or does he have blood on his hands too? The first stage adaptation of the award-winning novel that inspired the Oscar-winning movie, The Last King of Scotland is an electrifying thriller about corruption and complicity.

Giles Foden was assistant editor of The Times Literary Supplement and deputy literary editor of The Guardian. His first novel, The Last King of Scotland, won the 1998 Whitbread First Novel Award, a Somerset Maugham Award, a Betty Trask prize and the Winifred Holtby Memorial Award. It was made into a feature film, starring Forest Whittaker (who won an Oscar for Best Actor for his performance) as Idi Amin, and directed by Kevin McDonald. His other books include Ladysmith, Zanzibar and Turbulence, and non-fiction book, Mimi and Toutou Go Forth.

Steve Waters’ plays include Limehouse (Donmar Warehouse, 2017), Temple (Donmar Warehouse, 2015), Why Can’t We Live Together? (Menagerie Theatre/Soho/Theatre503, 2013), Europa, as co-author (Birmingham Repertory Theatre/Dresden State Theatre/Teatr Polski Bydgoszcz/Zagreb Youth Theatre, 2013), Ignorance/Jahiliyyah (Hampstead Downstairs, 2012), Little Platoons (Bush Theatre, 2011), The Contingency Plan (Bush Theatre, 2009), Fast Labour (Hampstead, in association with West Yorkshire Playhouse, 2008), Out of Your Knowledge (Menagerie Theatre/ Pleasance, Edinburgh/East Anglian tour, 2006-8), World Music (Sheffield Crucible, 2003, and subsequent transfer to the Donmar Warehouse, 2004), The Unthinkable (Sheffield Crucible, 2004), After the Gods (Hampstead Theatre, 2002), and English Journeys (Hampstead Theatre, 1998). His writing for television and radio includes Safe House (BBC4), The Air GapThe Moderniser (BBC Radio 4), Scribblers, Bretton Woods (BBC Radio 3), and Fall of The Shah (BBC World Service 9-part series).

Gbolahan Obisesan directed four plays as part of The Bush Theatre’s 66 BOOKS project which ran at the Bush and Westminster Abbey. Other directing credits include SUS (Young Vic and UK tour – Jerwood Award for directing) and he was Director in Residence at the National Theatre Studio and resident director for the Fela! (National Theatre). Associate Director credits include The Way of The World, and Julius Caesar (RSC). He is Genesis Fellow of the Young Vic Theatre and is under commission to Eclipse Theatre Company. Previous credits include SS Mendi: Dancing the Death Drill (Nuffield Southampton Theatres), How Nigeria Became: A Story, And A Spear That Didn’t Work (Unicorn Theatre), We Are Proud To Present… (Bush Theatre), Pigeon English (Bristol Old Vic / Edinburgh Festival) and Mad About The Boy (Edinburgh Festival and UK tour). He was one of the six writers and the only British writer on Rufus Norris’ Feast, commissioned by the Royal Court and The Young Vic for their World Stages London which was produced at The Young Vic.

STUDIO

A Sheffield Theatres and fingersmiths Production

MY MOTHER SAID I NEVER SHOULD

By Charlotte Keatley

8 – 23 November

Press night: 12 November, 7.45pm

Director Jeni Draper

‘You are always your Mother’s child, my Mother used to say’

 A moving and funny exploration of the lives of four generations of women in one family. Shifting back and forth in time, we see their loves, expectations and choices play out against the huge social changes of the past century.

A contemporary classic, Sheffield Theatres is delighted to work with fingersmiths (Up ’n’ Under) to present this multi-award-winning play in British Sign Language and spoken English. Featuring a cast of d/Deaf and hearing actors, this production’s visual, physical storytelling style captures the power of a timeless story which shows it’s never too late to change.

All performances are in spoken English and British Sign Language (BSL) and are accessible for hearing and Deaf audiences.

Charlotte Keatley is an award-winning playwright and My Mother Said I Never Should is the most widely performed play ever written by a woman, having now been translated or produced in 31 countries from Japan to Peru. in 2000 the National Theatre named it one of the Significant Plays of the Twentieth Century, and it is a GCSE set text. Other credits include The Iron Serpent, An Armenian ChildhoodWaiting for MartinFears and Miseries in the Third TermThe Ringing Singing Tree, The Sleep of ReasonI am Janet, and Our Father (published by Methuen). Keatley has also written for radio, television and film. She was co-winner of an EMMY for filming in children’s prisons in Georgia, East Europe, for a the C4 documentary Kids Behind Bars. She has run playwriting workshops from Burnley to Shanghai, and continues to run workshops in theatres, schools, universities and for community groups of all ages.

Jeni Draper directs. For fingersmiths, Jeni Draper has directed War Crimes for the Home (R&D commission Pulse Festival), Frozen (Birmingham Rep co-pro and national tour), Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (R&D) and In Praise of Fallen Women (co-creator with Kaite O’Reilly and Jean St Clair). Her other directing credits include Invisible Women (Writer: Nicky Werenowska in development 2018), Don’t Leave Me Now (rehearsed readings ongoing), War Crimes for the Home (tour), Inheritance (R&D), Merry Wives of Waltham (London fringe), Silence (R&D Mercury Colchester) and Counting the Ways (Face Front Theatre, national tour). Jeni also works as a consultant for individual artists and companies. fingersmiths is an Associate company at New Wolsey Theatre and Jeni is an Associate Artist at Prime Youth Theatre Swindon. She is a qualified sign language interpreter and trainer.

A Sheffield Theatres Production

CRUCIBLE

GUYS AND DOLLS

A Musical Fable of Broadway Based on a story and characters of Damon Runyon

Music and Lyrics by Frank Loesser Book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows

Performed by arrangement with Music Theatre International (Europe) LTD

Director: Robert Hastie

7 December 2019 – 18 January 2020

Press night: 12 December, 7pm

‘Luck be a lady tonight!’

It’s time to roll the dice and fall in love under the bright lights of New York city! To settle a bet, high roller Sky Masterson pursues straight-laced Sergeant Sarah Brown, only to fall head over heels for his unlikely love. This spectacular musical comedy is a high energy riot of breathtaking dance and features all-time favourites Luck be a Lady, Guys and Dolls and the irresistible Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat.

Robert Hastie’s recent productions as Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres include Standing at the Sky’s Edge, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The York Realist (co-production with the Donmar Warehouse – Evening Standard Theatre Award nomination for Best Director), The Wizard of Oz, Of Kith and Kin (co-production with Bush Theatre) and Julius Caesar. Previous directing credits include Macbeth (Shakespeare’s Globe), Breaking the Code (Royal Exchange Manchester), Henry V (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre) and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Theatr Clwyd). As an Associate Director of the Donmar Warehouse, his work includes My Night with Reg by Kevin Elyot (Donmar Warehouse/West End – Best Newcomer nomination at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards, and Best Revival nomination at the Olivier Awards) and Splendour by Abi Morgan. His other directing credits include Carthage and Events While Guarding The Bofors Gun (Finborough Theatre), Sunburst (Holborn Grange Hotel), Sixty-Six Books (Bush Theatre) and A Breakfast of Eels (Print Room).