Betrayal for Simm

2010: Hamlet - John Simm.
2010: Hamlet - John Simm.

ALREADY with a spring in its step after recent successes, Sheffield Theatres this week annouced its new season running from January to May 2012. Highlights include a season of work dedicated to writer Michael Frayn, a revival of Congreve’s Restoration comedy The Way of the World and the return of Life on Mars actor John Simm in Harold Pinter’s Betrayal.

The theatre will also co-produce with neighbouring theatre company, Chol Theatre, for Yorkshire’s Cultural Olympiad, and will host the first International Student Drama Festival.

The first production on the Crucible stage is The Way of the World, directed by Sheffield Theatres’ Associate Director Lyndsey Turner. This new staging of William Congreve’s classic Restoration comedy about morals, money and everything in between runs from February 2-25.

In March, following on from the success of last year’s David Hare Season, the company presents a festival dedicated to the work of multi-award-winning playwright Michael Frayn, running in all three of the theatre’s spaces.

There will be revivals of Copenhagen (directed in the Lyceum by David Grindley), Democracy (directed by Paul Miller in the Crucible Main House) and Benefactors (directed by Charlotte Gwinner in the Studio) and as well as rehearsed readings of plays The Sneeze, Here and Wild Honey and extracts from Frayn’s novels and journalism.

It concludes with an In Conversation event with the writer.

In the Studio, the theatre will co-produce the world première of LeanerFasterStronger by Kaite O’Reilly (winner of the Ted Hughes Award for Poetry 2010) with Chol Theatre. Directed by Sheffield Theatres’ Creative Producer Andrew Loretto, this darkly-humorous and provocative piece explores the limits of what humanity means. It forms part of iMove, a Yorkshire Cultural Olympiad programme.

Completing the season of Sheffield Theatres work is Harold Pinter’s Betrayal, which sees John Simm return to Sheffield Theatres following his role in Hamlet at the Crucible last year. Betrayal, written in 1978, is a heartbreaking comment on love and relationships through the intertwined stories of two couples over nine years.

Finally, continuing its commitment to nurturing new talent Sheffield Theatres becomes home to the International Student Drama Festival in June.

Co-produced by the National Student Drama Festival and Sheffield Theatres, this week-long event features the brightest and best new theatre-makers from across the world performing a range of live theatre, dance and music events, alongside 200 workshops and discussions by leading practitioners and actors.

Artistic Director Daniel Evans said today: “I’m thrilled that our 40th birthday celebrations began in September with around 31,000 tickets sold for our production of Othello at the Crucible.

“Over the coming weeks, we’ll see a whole host of events that not only chronicle the history of our iconic building but also look forward to the next 40 years.

“The newly established Sheffield People’s Theatre – our cross-generational community theatre company – will take to the stage of the main house for the first time and we’re collaborating with many local companies to create a variety of events that take people on exciting journeys through the theatre’s past.

“Our celebrations continue in the New Year and I am particularly looking forward to producing a season dedicated to the work of Michael Frayn.

“As the Crucible enters its fifth decade, it is a genuine privilege to be leading the organisation during this special time.”

The new season at Sheffield Theatres goes on sales to the public on Saturday, November 19.