Local Theatre launch second season

Sheffield’s Local Theatre has returned after a summer break to embark on its second season with improv troupe Sturike Comedy bringing their free-form style to the venue on Snig Hill next week.

Tuesday, 3rd September 2019, 2:01 pm
Updated Wednesday, 4th September 2019, 3:54 pm
Sheffield improv group Sturike Comedy

The Local Theatre was created in 2017 by Miranda Debenham and Tim Norwood as a performing arts venue and rehearsal space available for community groups, touring productions, university groups and residencies and to be accessible to all, regardless of experience or finance.

“We had met at the University of Sheffield Light Entertainment Society – USLES – and worked together over the years,” explains Tim Norwood.. “Miranda had produced some of my shows but had long had the idea of running a venue until someone said, ‘why don’t you?’

“She wrote a business plan and asked me if I wanted to get involved as artistic director.

“It took a couple of years of work to find this place and get funding. We secured funding from the Key Foundation, a charity which supports social enterprise with start-up loans and grants.”

The premises they lighted on was the former Snig Hill Art Gallery which had been empty since 2013. “We got in touch with people to help us get the building into shape and that’s when Artworks South Yorkshire, a non for profit creative arts organisation working with adults with learning disabilities took on the project,” continues Tim.

“We were just looking for it to be painted white but they ran with it and turned the cafe space into a work of art.”

“I was especially happy with it because some of the artists working on it had been my pupils,” says Charlotte Blackburn, a special needs teacher who is an associate artist at Local Theatre.

There is a café and shared workspace on the ground floor and a rehearsal room and performance space in the basement. They offer residencies and office space to companies such as Chol Theatre, who work with children and young people.

Tim and Charlotte organised the second UnShut Festival over three days in May which brought in 30 artists from all over Europe for a diverse programme of spoken word, music, installation art, and performance.

The first season ran from April to July with a number of small-scale touring productions and performances by Sheffield-based artists.

““We have been scouting potential productions at the Edinburgh Fringe as we did last year.”

From closer to home are Sturike Comedy, a collective of Sheffield comedians, who are presenting Two Very Different Improv parties this week. On Friday, September 6, they offer The Double Date featuring Bobby and Alex who are Joined at the Quip followed by Long Boi and the Noise, while on Saturday it’s The Big One What, which rather riskily explores what happens when you combine drinking games with improve. Each performance starts at 7.30pm and tickets are £8/£5.

In each Local Theatre season there will be one in-house production.

“The first was My Apologies by a local writer, Joe Willis, exploring the relationship of two women, which I directed,” says Tim. “We are developing for 2010 What Do You Wish You Had Known When You Were At School, an interactive show based on research in the community and in schools asking that very question.

“Our aim is to become part of the fabric of Sheffield itself rather than just a pop-up venue.”