Favourite Things: A welcoming place that always takes centre stage

Mary Newey
Mary Newey

Mary Newey, of the Woodseats Theatre Company, tells the Telegraph about her favourite things in Sheffield.

Friendly People

I am from Birmingham originally where people are extremely friendly but after 36 years in Sheffield this is definitely now my home and I have to say that the people of Sheffield are so special, extremely welcoming and with a great sense of humour. I had always performed in amateur theatre companies back home - my first starring role was Elsie Maynard in The Yeomen of the Guard - but when I came to Sheffield I began working in amateur theatre almost straight away and it was a fantastic way to get to know people. One of my earliest Sheffield performances was as Laurey in Oklahoma at the Sheffield City Hall. What an incredible venue!

Lyceum and Crucible

Theatres

We are so lucky to have two such beautiful theatres in our city, catering for both professional and amateur companies, though I do have to say that I think an even greater non-professional presence would be appreciated by many companies who nowadays are struggling to find a performance space of sufficient quality and audience capacity.

I’ve appeared at the Crucible Studio in Noel Coward’s Hay Fever and my Lyceum shows have ranged from Singing in the Rain to My Fair Lady and Titanic. So many happy memories.

Countryside

How beautiful are the Yorkshire Moors and Derbyshire Dales? And they are just a very short drive or bus ride away from where I live in Gleadless. It’s always a great pleasure for me to be able to take my three beautiful granddaughters out into the countryside - and actually it isn’t even that far to the spectacular Yorkshire coast.

Just think how lucky we are to have places like Chatsworth and Haddon and Hardwick all on our doorsteps. And then you mustn’t forget that within Sheffield itself we have our brilliant network of parks and green spaces.

Sheffield City Centre

I know it may not be fashionable to say this at the moment but our city centre is looking fantastic these days. I know it’s had its problems but if you just walk through and take note of your surrounds as you go, the improvements are brilliant, and the Moor is taking on a new lease of life now that work on the new cinema complex is nearing completion. That’s just the sort of thing we need and I am still hopeful that eventually we will see the new retail quarter begin to take shape because we do need some new shops. I do have to stand up for the Moor Market too.

I sometimes think people who complain about it haven’t even been to take a look and that if they did they would quickly eat their words. I have to add, though, that for local shopping I often find myself popping over to Crystal Peaks, a fantastic little shopping mall that’s not far from where we live.

Hendersons Relish

I’m from Birmingham so of course I had never heard of this culinary delight before I moved to Sheffield in 1980 - it’s no great secret that this Sheffield kitchen staple is something that we like to keep to ourselves.

Now, though, it has pride of place in my kitchen cupboard, which has to be a sign that I’ve finally become a real Sheffield woman.

Amateur theatre scene

The standard of performance both artistically and technically is first class on every level, all the way from church halls through to the Lyceum. I’m especially pleased with the new Friends of the Montgomery project, recently set up by the amateur groups to help bring the theatre back to its former glory.

Woodseats Musical

Theatre Company

You didn’t really think I wouldn’t mention this did you? This is the musical theatre group I am honoured to be both chairman and director of. They are a brilliant group of people, talented, loyal and dedicated, and are all rehearsing hard for Half a Sixpence next week.