Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres Robert Hastie has announced his inaugural season for 2017, which includes, at the Crucible, his own productions of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and The Wizard of Oz, major class revivals of Desire Under the Elms and Uncle Vanya, two world premieres and a regional premiere.
The new season opens with Hastie directing Julius Caesar (17 May-10 June), the ultimate political thriller in which the majority choose a dangerous leader, bringing Shakespeare back to the Crucible. This will be followed in the Studio by the winner of the new annual RTST Director Award Scheme Kate Hewitt directing the regional première of Nina Raine’s Tribes (29 June-22 July).
Sheffield People’s Theatre will then stage Chris Bush’s new play What We Wished For (19-22 July), which reunites Bush and director Emily Hutchinson following this year’s A Dream. Hastie renews his collaboration with rising talent playwright Chris Thompson for the world première of Of Kith and Kin (14 September-7 October) – they previously worked together on Thompson’s first full length play Carthage at the Finborough Theatre. Of Kith and Kin is a co-production with the Bush Theatre, and the production will run there after performances at Sheffield Theatres.
Director Sam Yates makes his Sheffield Theatres debut with Eugene O’Neill’s Desire Under the Elms (20 September-14 October); and then Tamara Harvey returns to Sheffield Theatres to direct Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya (18 October-4 November) in a new version by Peter Gill. This is a co-production with Theatr Clwyd where Harvey is Artistic Director and will open there ahead of its run in Sheffield.
The year is then completed with a major revival of the classic The Wizard of Oz which Hastie will direct at Christmas, continuing the tradition of a much-loved musical revival for the festive season.
Also announced today, with a desire to put accessibility at the heart of his work for the company, Hastie has removed booking fees from all tickets, so there will be no additional charges on top of the ticket prices. In addition, there are 10,000 tickets priced at only £15.00 across Sheffield Theatres’ 2017 season. Also, students studying drama or performing arts at school or college in Sheffield can now claim a free ticket to see work on the Crucible stage.
Robert Hastie said today:
“I am delighted to introduce my first season of work as Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres. I have been in Sheffield for a few months now and I have been overwhelmed by the warmth of the welcome I’ve received. This is a great city and I feel privileged to take on the artistic leadership of two of its most iconic buildings. Like many people here, I was greatly saddened by the recent death of founding director Colin George, and reminded that his legacy is the pride this city takes in its world class theatres.
“This season is about great plays that say something about all of us – our lives and loves, the leaders we choose, and the families we don’t. Our doors are open to everyone and in uncertain and divisive times, the importance of spaces where we can come together to share stories and debate ideas has never been greater. Our theatres are places where we can hear other points of view and discover more about the strangers we live alongside. Everyone is welcome. They are safe places and they are thrilling places.
“We’ve dropped our lowest ticket prices and there are 10,000 £15 tickets across the season. We’re also scrapping our booking fees. And we are saying to young people with an interest in theatre and to the schools they attend: we share your passion and we support it. If you study drama or performing arts at GCSE or A-level in Sheffield, you can come to the Crucible for free. The idea of culture and creativity having a vital place in education is under sustained attack. I do not accept that, and we will do everything we can at Sheffield Theatres to inspire and nurture a passion for theatre in our city’s young people. It’s vital that we put our money where our mouths are about the value of live performance.”