It’s all systems Voe as Pulp star’s mum returns to Steel City stage

Sandra Voe (Doll)
Sandra Voe (Doll)
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SANDRA Voe has murdered people and saved others in a varied acting career since moving out of the Steel City.

But the Shetland Island-born actress who stars in the Crucible revival of Macbeth next month seems even more proud of the international achievements of daughter Candida Doyle, keyboard player with resurrected city indie superstars Pulp.

“I remember them all scrabbling around for bus fares to then take a van to Chesterfield with all the gear,” she recalls.

“One summer she persuaded the band to go up to Shetland and I saw her playing up there. Every time I can we’ve seen them. It scuppered her plans to be an archaeologist but they’ve gone from strength to strength.”

Candida is one of three kids Sandra and husband Rex Doyle had while living in Woodseats for 15 years. Rex came to Sheffield to run the Studio when Colin George handed over his artistic directorship to Peter James.

On September 5 Sandra returns to the Crucible as Second Witch in a play that led to her meeting Rex in 1959. “He was the First Witch,” she smiles. “They are sometimes played by men, but we are doing them very much as women in this production.”

Sandra last performed for Sheffield Theatres in 1985 as a “very flirty” nurse in Romeo & Julie. Just prior she was in Nikolai Gogal’s The Government Inspector, directed by Russia’s Oleg Tabakov.

“It’s lovely to be back. I’ve always found the Crucible a good theatre as an audience member. There’s nowhere you cannot see the stage, particularly this production in the round.

“And coming back to Sheffield, the whole city is hardly recognisable from when we left in the early 1980s.

“It was a very different atmosphere then, one that was disappointed, angry, frustrated. People were losing jobs right, left and centre thanks to Mrs Thatcher.

“These things are reflected in the number of theatre seats you sell. Now the city has got a confidence and is generally happier so I think we’ll do well with this – it’s got a good feel to it.

“I come in on the tram every day and it just feels like a boom is going on – you forget about being called ‘love’ and ‘duck’ though!”

Sandra’s acting CV includes numerous TV roles, most recently Doctors and Wallender, as well as 21 films, including Local Hero and Mike Leigh’s Naked and Vera Drake. Her threatre credits run to dozens, Mel Smith’s Great Sheffield Flood and Maria Marten at the Crucible among them.

She’s hoping Candida will catch her latest shift here, returning the gesture of Sandra seeing Pulp in Hyde Park. Her son Magnus was also briefly in the band as drummer, but didn’t like touring.

“They all came on the stage in Sheffield, if any children were needed,” says Sandra. “Candida once had to play a crippled child who’d been in the way of a bomb in a play about Northern Ireland.”

While Sandra breaks into a smile when recalling how she killed three people in TV hit Midsomer Murders and “a lot” in Foyle’s War, she confirms theatre as “my love”.

“You live with a part and can grow and develop more. With film and telly, unless you are very lucky and have time to prepare, whatever you do the first day you are stuck with.”