Operation Crucible comes home to Sheffield for belated Blitz anniversary show

An actor from the hit stage production Operation Crucible has revealed the development of the play and how it feels to return to the stage as it launches in Sheffield this week.

Tuesday, 31st August 2021, 6:00 am
Operation Crucible returns to Sheffield this month, in a delayed commemoration marking 80 years since the Sheffield Blitz.
Operation Crucible returns to Sheffield this month, in a delayed commemoration marking 80 years since the Sheffield Blitz.

Salvatore D’Aquilla plays Bob in Operation Crucible, which tells the true story of four steelworkers who were trapped inside the cellar of the Marples Hotel on Fitzalan Square during the Sheffield Blitz in December 1940.

The production has been performed around the world, from London to New York.

Plans for a string of performances in Sheffield to commemorate the Sheffield Blitz were delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sheffield Blitz December 1940 Rescue work at the Marples Hotel after the blitz

Salvatore told the Telegraph: “It’s quite magical not only to bring that story back but just doing something that you love and going back on stage is quite a profound moment because you didn’t know if you would be able to do that again.

“I have been in Operation Crucible since it was a blank piece of paper. I have seen it grow, as I've been part of the development process, doing workshops, readings and rehearsing different early stages of the script.

“Just to get it back to Sheffield and where it’s meant to be and laying the hat down on the Crucible and giving it back to the people. It’s just a few doors down from the Marples hotel where that horrific thing happened."

The Sheffield Blitz, codenamed Operation Crucible by the Germans, lasted nine hours from December 12-13 1940 and caused 700 deaths, 70 of which were at the Marples Hotel.

STOCK: Sheffield at night, The Crucible Theatre.

Salvatore explained that the experience of the pandemic put him more in touch with his character.

He said: “I don’t know what it’s like to be in a place that is being bombed. "But not knowing what is going on in the outside world - we rely on each other and connection and touch and that was taken away from us. I have a little sprinkle of something I can grasp more than I ever did before. I think it’s a universal theme - it’s about friendship, love and community. "Being trapped, not being able to see loved ones, it’s a universal story.”

The production is running at The Crucible from September 2-25.