Celebration of city’s heritage

India De Rocha Humberstone playing the part of Betty in 1940 Sheffield Blitz in Sheffield Song, Montgomery Theatre, July 5, 2012
India De Rocha Humberstone playing the part of Betty in 1940 Sheffield Blitz in Sheffield Song, Montgomery Theatre, July 5, 2012

A BRAND new show chronicling 200 years of the city’s history will be premiered at the Montgomery Theatre next week. Around 100 people have been involved in bringing Sheffield Song , according to director Lindsey Beagles.

“There are 20 actors, 50-60 dancers, 25 musicians and composers and then about 20 stage crew,” she says. “Among the performers the youngest is nine (her mum is also in the show) and the oldest is 75 but the majority of them are between 15 and 24.

“We began last year devising scenarios about how issues in social life today would have applied in different periods, things like daughters and mothers’ relationships and class divide,” explains the director. “ I then worked out a script from that.”

The story follows two children from modern times as they embark on a new history project and what they discover.

“We begin in 1812 to mark the 200 years of our charity, set up by James Montgomery, and then we go to particular years like 1910, 1940 and 1955 and come up to date with the World Student Games in 1991 and finish with the torch relay.

“We tell the story though people and their social life rather than events.”

As the title Sheffield Song indicates, music is an important element. “We have some songs that already existed from the Sheffield Young Singers but most of the music has been written especially for this,” says Lindsey Beagles.

“Sheffield Song will be a one-off performance but it will be used as a resource in the future. What I have really loved is that we have people who have never acted in their lives before and others who are experienced.”

It is one of the first project aimed at establishing the Montgomery Arts Centre. The legacy of the production is to confirm the revival of the long-standing amateur company, the Montgomery Players, after a few years out of existence.

“We will be doing a new season from September and are looking for new recruits, anyone aged 11+,” says Beagles.

Sheffield Song is at the Montgomery Theatre on Thursday, July 5. Tickets are £8/ £6.