A beloved icon in the centre of the city, the Crucible has played host to an impressive line-up of actors, dancers and directors over the years since it opened in 1971.
The Crucible, its Studio theatre and its next-door sister the Lyceum together form the country's largest theatre complex outside of London. Along with the Library Theatre, they each face onto Tudor Square, making for a thoroughly thespian corner of the city centre.
Since the Crucible was renovated and reopened in 2010, the addition of its colourful facade has kept the far end of the square well lit by night. It's an alluring place, inviting people walking along Surrey Street to stop off and pay it a visit. And it's just as beautiful on the inside.
By the box office you'll read the incredible, if a little dark, Harold Pinter poem Laughter, written just for the Crucible in 2007 and part of our Poetic Tour of Sheffield. A starry ceiling welcomes visitors into the auditorium and, when the show starts, nobody sitting in any of its 980 seats is ever more than 22 metres away from the action. This three-sided design makes for some of the most intimate and atmospheric performances we've ever seen.
With its polygonal shape and its thrust stage, the Crucible is a very modern theatre. Its programme – fittingly – is well known for its seasons dedicated to modern playwrights; in recent years, Harold Pinter, Michael Frayn and Brian Friel having been celebrated in turn, with a string of plays, workshops and in-depth talks.
It's not all about the modern, though: some of the best versions of Shakespeare plays have been staged at the Crucible in recent years, like the 2011 production of Othello with the Wire's Dominic West and Clarke Peters.
Shows at the Crucible span drama, dance, comedy and, of course, snooker (the World Snooker Championships are held here each year) – so there should be something in its calendar to suit everyone. And, if you're lucky enough to be aged between 16 and 26, you can take advantage of Sheffield Theatres' Live for Five scheme, where you get two tickets for select performances for just a fiver each – make the most of it!
- Words by
- Claire Thornley
- Images by
- Nigel Barker