Drama studio aiming to be home to exciting new work

Police Cops. Picture by Alex Brenner.
Police Cops. Picture by Alex Brenner.
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A city theatre venue is being revitalised by showing new work by small-scale theatre companies that might otherwise struggle to be seen by Sheffield audiences.

The University Drama Studio, based in a converted church on the corner of Shearwood Road and Glossop Road, will be the base for the Enable US project.

We hope lots of people will come who haven’t been before

Nick Hopwood from the university said: “In a nutshell, it’s a project of new theatre work for small-scale touring theatre in Sheffield.

“The drama studio has been around for years. It was created in the mid-1970s and has been pretty central to university life and has always been used for a quite a lot of amateur drama productions.

“It’s been at the heart of Sheffield theatre life for quite a few years.

“We wanted to put some new work in there and thought if we could present some professional theatre productions that wouldn’t really have a home or chance to be presented in the city, it would revitalise the drama studio and give audiences a chance to see something they wouldn’t normally see.

“Being a university venue, it’s going to create links between professional arts practitioners and our students.”

That will include workshops led by visiting theatre companies for students and mentoring of their talents.

Nick said: “We teach drama and performing arts at the university and a lot of our students had to be taken to Manchester or Leeds to engage with this sort of theatre programming. We can now present the same shows here.”

The first Enable US season of plays starts at the end of March and runs for three weeks.

New shows featured include Ventoux (April 19), the story of Lance Armstrong and Marco Pantani’s drug-fuelled race up the toughest mountain during the 2000 Tour de France, thought at the time to be the greatest duel that cycling had ever seen.

The actors use real stationary racing bikes and ride in front of a filmed backdrop of the Ventoux route.

Starting the season on March 27 is Police Cops, a wild and wacky parody of 1970s and 80s US TV police dramas.

A Place Called Happiness (April 12) traces one woman’s offbeat journey to find the secrets of how to be happy without resorting to self-help gurus.

There are two children’s shows in the season.

The House at the Edge of the Universe (April 21) is an energetic, fun story about exploration, adventure and friendship for children aged seven to 11 and their families.

The show follows postmen Barry and Larry,who find they have to blast off into space and journey through the universe to deliver a mysterious package.

The season ends on April 22 with Aleena’s Garden, a show aimed at children aged up to three and their adults. Aleena explores her garden and meets the animals that visit it.

Nick said that the idea was to have another season in the autumn. He said: “It’s a great litle space. We hope that lots of people will come who haven’t been before.”

For the full season line-up and bookings, go online to sivtickets.com and hit the Enable US link orgo to Enable us Project to sign up to a mailing list.

Enable us Season, University Drama Studio, March and April visit Enable us Project