Audiences can shake off the winter blues as Sheffield Theatres announces its new season, taking place from May – August 2012.
Highlights include John Simm in Harold Pinter’s Betrayal, the World Premiere of LeanerFasterStronger, a new collaboration with Chol Theatre in association with iMove, and the International Student Drama Festival.
In May, John Simm returns to the Crucible stage to play Jerry in Harold Pinter’s Betrayal, following his critically acclaimed role in Hamlet last year. He is joined by Colin Tierney as Robert, in this heartbreaking comment on love and relationships directed by Nick Bagnall. Nick is joint Artistic Director of the Milton Rooms, Malton, and has directed numerous productions including Billy Liar at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in 2010. Betrayal premiered at the National Theatre in 1978 and won the Olivier Award for Best New Play.
In the Studio, the theatre will co-produce the world premiére of LeanerFasterStronger with neighbouring Chol Theatre (Wednesday May 23– Saturday 2 June). Written by Kaite O’Reilly, winner of the Ted Hughes Award for Poetry in 2010, and directed by Sheffield Theatres’ Creative Producer Andrew Loretto, this is a darkly-humorous and provocative theatre experience that explores the limits of what being human means. The play forms part of Extraordinary Moves, an exciting arts and science partnership between Chol Theatre and Sheffield Hallam University and iMove, Yorkshire’s Cultural Olympiad programme.
In June, continuing its commitment to nurturing new talent Sheffield Theatres becomes home to the International Student Drama Festival. Produced by the National Student Drama Festival (NSDF), in association with the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University, this nine-day event will bring together the brightest new theatre-makers from across the world, including student companies from Iran, Palestine, India and the USA, to perform 20 student productions, alongside over 200 creative and technical workshops and seminars led by leading practitioners and actors.
In the Lyceum Theatre, this year’s spectacular pantomime, Cinderella, promises to be bigger and better than ever. Running from Friday December 7 2012 – Sunday January 6 2013, this magical fairytale is the sixth pantomime produced by Sheffield Theatres and Evolution Pantomimes, and will see Sheffield’s favourite comedy genius, Damian Williams, take on the role of Cinderella’s trusty sidekick Buttons.
Earlier in the Lyceum Theatre calendar, a packed programme of musicals, drama, children’s shows and comedy brings a host of familiar faces to the theatre including Connie Fisher (Sound of Music, How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?) in the award-winning musical comedy Wonderful Town (Tuesday 1 – Saturday May 5), Rhydian Roberts (X Factor) in the electrifying extravaganza Grease (Monday 14 – Saturday May 19) and Andy Abraham (X Factor) singing live with his 13-piece band in The History of the Big Bands (Wednesday May 23). Other musical highlights include Tony Award-winning 42nd Street in June, Dreamboats and Petticoats and Rogers and Hammersmith’s South Pacific in July.
Opera North return to the Lyceum stage for the first time since 2007 with their much-loved and universally acclaimed production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s topsy-turvy tale, Ruddigore (Thursday 31 – Saturday June 2). First performed by the Company in 2010 and then again last year, Sheffield is the only English tour date for this well-known comic operetta, and their visit marks the beginning of a renewed partnership between the two organisations.
Paul Merton (Have I Got News For You) returns to his stand-up roots for the first time this century with a night of sketches, music, magic, variety and dancing girls in his Out of My Head show (Monday May 21). In June, Alan Bennett’s The Lady in the Van (Wednesday 6 – Saturday June 9), presents the hilarious catalogue of Miss Shepherd’s foibles and Birds of a Feather reunites original cast members Pauline Quirke, Linda Robson and Lesley Joseph on stage (Tuesday 26 – Saturday June 30). The comedy continues in July as showbiz legend, Ken Dodd, returns to the Lyceum for an evening of jam-packed jokes and celebration (Friday July 13).
Dance audiences can enjoy Breakin’ Convention, the critically acclaimed festival of hip hop dance theatre, which returns to Sheffield in May with more jaw-dropping performances from local and international artists, including performances from Clash 66 (France & Korea) and World B-Boy champions Vagabond Crew (France).
For youngsters, David Wood’s (Shaun the Sheep, Fantastic Mr Fox and The Witches) critically-acclaimed stage adaptation of the much-loved story The Tiger Who Came To Tea brings magic, sing-along songs and fun for ages 3 and above (Tuesday 22 – Wednesday May 23), whilst families can meet the Terrible Tudors and Vile Victorians in Horrible Histories (Wednesday 4 – Saturday July 7).
The Sheffield Children’s Festival also returns with a series of shows, concerts and performances from local schools, children’s theatre and dance groups (Monday June 18 – Saturday July 14). As part of the Festival, HMDT Music, in association with Sheffield Theatres and Eclipse Theatre, present Shadowball, a thrilling jazz opera inspired by the era of Ellington and Armstrong.
There are also plenty of opportunities for people to experience the arts in new ways including a host of Theatre Skills workshops, Behind the Curtains, a promenade performance for schools and families, the return of Sheffield Theatres’ Summer School, and live performances from the best local talent as Sheffield Sizzler takes over the theatre foyers and bars on Friday May 25.
The summer season at Sheffield Theatres goes on sale to the public on Saturday March 17. Tickets can be booked by calling the Box Office on 0114 249 6000 or at Sheffield Theatres