Favourite Things: ‘Outstanding theatres could be a second home’

Sara Clarkson outside the Crucible and the Lyceum Theatre which are some of her favourite places in Sheffield.
Sara Clarkson outside the Crucible and the Lyceum Theatre which are some of her favourite places in Sheffield.

Sara Clarkson is senior programme director for Common Purpose in Yorkshire, a not-for-profit leadership development organization that specialises in cross-boundary leadership. Founded in 1989, they run programmes in over 100 cities worldwide, and have more than 70,000 alumni. Sara is originally from Brighton and moved to Sheffield via Ilkley in 1995. She now lives in Stanfree near Bolsover with her husband Nick, daughters Emma and Holly, who will start a social work degree at the University of Winchester this Autumn- plus Millie the Cockapoo.

Sheffield Theatres

Ecclesall Woods, off Abbey Lane.

Ecclesall Woods, off Abbey Lane.

This could very nearly be my second home. A real asset to Sheffield and the biggest theatre complex outside of London, with many productions transferring to the West End. I have membership to the theatre, which gives you the bonus of priority booking, and like nothing better than filling my diary with a range of productions- particularly musicals. Highlights include My Fair Lady, Alexandra Burke in both The Bodyguard and Sister Act and more recently the Band, a fantastic show that has you laughing and crying in equal measure. So good I have booked to see it again! I am fortunate that my closest friends share my passion: a real highlight of our year.

Sheffield City Hall

A beautiful building in the heart of the city. I love the intimacy of watching a concert or show here.

Sheffield Hallam University

Since 2010, I have been fortunate to work closely with the University delivering Leadership programmes for a wide range of students, most recently for students from the Business School and the Faculty of Health and Wellbeing. The students are a real pleasure to work with and have a real commitment and drive to achieve the very best. Through our programmes, we engage them in a whole range of activities across the city, all in an effort to enhance their skills when they graduate.

People and Organisations

The joy of my job means that I get to work with a wide range of organisations and people across public, private and voluntary sectors, a number of whom are alumni of Common Purpose. Through our programmes, we get the opportunity to work with many fantastic businesses and hear from some inspirational leaders. Most recently, we have been fortunate to work with Westfield Health, Benchmark Recruit, STEPS Rehabilitation, Roundabout, Meadowhall, Cathedral Archer Project and South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service.

The NHS

A few years ago, our eldest daughter was finally diagnosed with neuropathic pain, after three years of suffering. She was referred to the pain management team at The Children’s Hospital, Sheffield. This was the start of a complete transformation when, for the first time, we were supported by people who really understood what she was trying to live with. More recently, she has undergone major jaw surgery at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital under the wonderful care of the Charles Clifford Dental Hospital. As a family, we shall be forever grateful.

Hardwick Hall

We enjoy family membership of The National Trust, ensuring we spend a lot of time at this beautiful Elizabethan manor near Chesterfield. We visit in all weathers, but particularly enjoy Sundays during the summer which start early with a dog walk followed by a bacon or sausage sandwich in the Great Barn restaurant.

Ecclesall Woods

After driving past these ancient woodlands off Abbey Lane near Beauchief for many years, it wasn’t until we got a dog that we stopped and discovered the great walks here. We enjoy exploring the different routes, taking a different path each time and visiting the lovely Woodland Coffee Stop café, which serves a welcome cup of tea and cake within the JG Graves Discovery Centre in the heart of the woods.

Whirlow Hall Farm

We have been regular supporters here over the years, including helping on the gate at farm fayres. A beautiful location for educational visits for children. Great fun fruit picking over the years and visiting the spring lambs.

The Peacock, Barlow

A wonderful village pub serving great food which has the bonus of being dog- friendly, with Millie getting served before we do!