Sheffield theatres to see whip-crackin' fun and tragic story of city in Blitz
Daniel Evans today announces his final season as Sheffield Theatres' Artistic Director, including the eagerly-anticipated news of the Crucible's Christmas show, Irving Berlin's whip-cracking musical Annie Get Your Gun.
The season also includes two world premières on the Crucible stage - an adaptation of a classic novel and an exciting new musical set in Sheffield. A poignant moment in the city’s history is told on the Studio stage along with a heart-warming family tale for the festive period.
The season opens in September with Folie à deux Productions and From Ground Up Theatre Company in association with Sheffield Theatres presenting Operation Crucible (Tue 6 – Sat 24 September) in the Studio. On December 12, 1940 a single bomb reduced the Marples Hotel, which stood proudly in Sheffield’s Fitzalan Square, from seven storeys to just 15 feet of rubble. Only one of the ten compartments in the hotel’s cellars withstood the blast. Within it, trapped, were four men. This highly acclaimed play tells their story, from beginning to end.
Sheffield Theatres continue their award-winning partnership with English Touring Theatre (Translations, Twelfth Night) from Wed 21 September – Sat 15 October with a brand new stage production of D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Banned in the UK until 1960, this tender story shows how three people, reeling from the aftermath of the Great War, struggle to survive in a world which has been blown apart. Passion, class, love and sexual freedom are at the heart of this modern classic, adapted and directed by Phillip Breen (York Mystery Plays 2016).
Saddle up this Christmas for the wildest of Wild West musicals – Annie Get Your Gun (Thu 8 December – Sat 14 January). Sharp shootin’, smart talkin’ Annie Oakley is a force to be reckoned with but when she’s pitched against the charming, fiercely competitive Frank Butler, has she finally met her match? Paul Foster (Tell Me On A Sunday, Sweet Charity) directs Anna-Jane Casey (Company) soon to be seen in Flowers For Mrs Harris, as Annie.
With whip-cracking choreography from Sheffield favouriteAlistair David (Show Boat, Anything Goes) and classic songs from the Golden Age of Broadway including There’s No Business Like Show Business, Anything You Can Do and I Got The Sun In The Morning Irving Berlin’s magnificent musical promises fun for all the family.
Sheffield Theatres’ festive season is completed with The Snow Child (Wed 14 December – Sat 7 January) a wintery tale full of warmth from Sheffield Theatres, Unicorn Theatre and Dancing Brick. This striking visual show with live music and enchanting puppetry is a vibrant and inventive retelling of a traditional folktale that will delight and charm audiences of all ages.
A coming-of-age story with a twist, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (Wed 8 – Sat 25 February) directed by Sheffield-born Jonathan Butterell, is a brand new musical with catchy new songs by The Feeling’s lead singer-songwriter Dan Gillespie Sells and writer Tom MacRae. Jamie New is sixteen. He’s from Sheffield. And he has a secret. He doesn’t quite fit in at school. His Dad’s left home. He’s about to sit his GCSEs and the future is terrifying. With his brilliant mum behind him, will Jamie be brave enough to stand up for who he really wants to be?
The best in touring productions also visit the city with shows including the already announced End of the Rainbow (Thu 12 – Sat 14 May) and Chicago (Mon 6 – Sat 11 June) appearing on the Lyceum stage.
The Studio hosts some exhilarating and inspiring performances in the new season. On Saturday 21 May, Christopher Brett Bailey brings This Is How We Die, a spiralling odyssey of pitch-black humour and nightmarish prose. In Going Viral (Tue 24 May) an aeroplane flies from Uganda to England where everyone on board is weeping. Everyone except you. Is it a strange new disease? Or has the world become genuinely sad?
Then attempt to unpick the truth from the fiction of power ballads in Late Night Love (Wed 1 June) and experience the power of words in Poetry Can F*ck Off (Thu 2 June). Ventoux (Fri 3 – Sat 4 June) tells the story of champions Lance Armstrong and Marco Pantani – whose Tour de France battle of 2000, was the greatest cycling had ever seen, but just how far did they go to succeed?
In Gods Are Fallen and All Safety Gone (Tue 7 June), two male actors explore the emotional and humorous dynamic of the relationship between a thirty-something daughter and her ageing mother.
Dance fans will enjoy a varied programme in the Lyceum Theatre, with Wayne McGregor’s cutting-edge contemporary work Atomos (Sat 18 June), performed by ten incredible dancers in his unique style – sculptural, rigorous, jarring and hauntingly beautiful. While later in the year, Northern Ballet return with their modern production of Romeo & Juliet (Wed 14 – Sat 17 September), set to Prokofiev’s stirring score.
Motown’s greatest hits are celebrated in Dancing in the Streets at the Lyceum from Fri 3 – Sat 4 June and the music continues from Tue 26 September – Sat 1 October with the Broadway and West End smash hit Million Dollar Quartet, featuring songs from the legendary Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins.
Multi award-winning Sunny Afternoon (Tue 25 – Sat 29 October) follows the rise to fame of The Kinks, one of the most influential bands of the ‘60’s and direct from the West End,Roddy Doyle’s The Commitments celebrates soul classics including Knock On Wood and Try A Little Tenderness from Mon 21 – Sat 26 November.
Brand new live show Peppa Pig’s Surprise brings family fun from Fri 9 – Sat 10 September. Fans of comedy will enjoy Alan Ayckbourn’s Relatively Speaking (Mon 19 – Sat 24 September) starring Robert Powell and Lisa Goddard and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic musical Cats will appeal to audiences of all ages from Mon 3 - Sat 15 October.
Artistic Director Daniel Evans said today, ‘I’m delighted that my final season at Sheffield will combine new and classic plays and musicals. It’s particularly edifying that two of our productions - a new adaptation of the classic novel, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, and a brand new musical, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie - will come to the stage after many years of development work.
"Our Christmas musical, which has become something of a tradition now in Sheffield, will also continue to thrive in the wonderful hands of director Paul Foster and choreographer Alistair David who this year will stage Annie Get Your Gun. We shall soon be announcing news of my successor, but in the meantime, I want to thank everyone at Sheffield Theatres – staff, partners and audiences - for the most joyful seven years.’