Sheffield Crucible is 40 years old this year. The highlight of their celebrations will be the production by the brand new Sheffield People’s Theatre.
As a theatre part-funded by Sheffield City Council, and therefore by the people of Sheffield, the theatre has a remit to employ local people but it seems the meaning of the word ‘employ’ is lost.
Sheffield People’s theatre basically means unpaid locals getting to take part. While I am sure many amateur dramatics enthusiasts will enjoy the experience of performing on the famous thrust stage, isn’t it just an incredibly cheap way to stage a production?
Where are the Sheffield actors? The latest attempt to fulfil this remit was to claim that Dominic West is a Sheffield lad, but he moved away as a boy to be educated at Eton and then Trinity College Ireland.
Not really a Sheffield lad at all, as was evident by his poor attempt at performing Iago with a local accent.
Where are the local actors, writers and directors who worked at the Crucible in its infancy and for decades since?
Where are the local, young professional actors trying to make their way in a difficult profession?
I can’t help but wonder if Sheffield actor Ray Ashcroft, who performed in the very first performance at the Crucible, was there last night to see his son in the anniversary performance. How many were left wondering why no local professionals have been employed by this theatre recently?
I wish the amateur dramatists well but wish the Crucible would fulfil its remit to employ local people on the stage as well as behind the scenes.
Jean Tracey, Hunters Bar