“It brings together three Sheffield icons – Park Hill, Richard Hawley and the Crucible,” declared Rob Hastie at the launch of the musical, Standing at the Sky’s Edge on Tuesday.
“It couldn’t get more Sheffield,” added the Sheffield Theatres artistic director who is directing the show opening at the Crucible next month.
Standing at the Sky’s Edge, written by Sheffield playwright Chris Bush, is built around 17 Richard Hawley songs, some classics, others written especially for the show.
Speaking at a launch for the media and theatre members alongside the two writers in the foyer of the Crucible with Park Hill in the background through the windows, the director continued: “Park Hill has been facing this theatre since it was built, always looking across the valley, and it feels like it has been asking for its story to be told .
“The story of Park Hill is a drama in itself,” he suggested, originating as future of social housing as the streets in the sky, through difficult times in the Eighties and Nineties, then beind listed, sold off, and then redeveloped as private flats.
“Standing at the Sky’s Edge tells the story of three generations of people brought up in that building, their loves, losses, hopes and dreams. It is about the people who have lived there and made it, and by extension it is the story of our city.”
Richard Hawley, who grew up in a family of steelworkers in Pitsmoor and Firth Park, and a famous champion of Sheffield , felt its scope was even broader: “We are using Park Hill as an aperture through which we see post-war Britain.”
The story follows three generations of residents of one flat.
There is the steelworker’s family who move in to the new flats in the Sixties, a refugee family making their home there n the Eighties and finally a young woman from London taking over the dwelling now modernised by Urban Splash.
The ensemble cast of 15, currently in their second week of rehearsals, will be augmented by 14 members of Sheffield People’s Theatre.
Those attending the launch on Tuesday were given a taster when cast member Maimuna Memon sang Open Up Your Doors and Rachael Wooding gave a rendition of After the Rain.
Standing at the Sky’s Edge will run at the Crucible from March 15 to April 6.