Sheffielders take part in theatre revolution on city streets

A Sheffield People's Theatre Co-Production with Slung Low'Camelot: The Shining City''By James Phillips''Alan Lane'Director'David Farley'Designer'Matt Angrove'Sound Designer'Heather Fenoughty'Composer'Lucy Hind'Movement Director
A Sheffield People's Theatre Co-Production with Slung Low'Camelot: The Shining City''By James Phillips''Alan Lane'Director'David Farley'Designer'Matt Angrove'Sound Designer'Heather Fenoughty'Composer'Lucy Hind'Movement Director
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A Sheffield building worker and a school student have found themselves at the centre of a revolutionary movement taking over city streets.

Fraser Mather and Dean Sibanda are both part of the huge community cast of amost 150 in Camelot: The Shining City at the Crucible.

Well, it starts at the Crucible, at least. The action soon spills out into the city centre with plenty of spectacular special effects dreamt up by theatre company Slung Low.

They are working alongside Sheffield People’s Theatre, the community part of Sheffield Theatres, for their most ambitious production yet.

The show is an updated version of the King Arthur myth, with a feisty young woman leading a revolutionary movement that faces a challenge from fervent believers in a faith.

Fraser, aged 36, from Shirecliffe, plays Bedevere, who he described as “the chap who ends up with the sword.”

He said: “He’s a very convicted man. He stands by the cause and he likes to think he’s one of the most incorruptible characters there. I do like him.”

Fraser added: “My part is quite physical, not necessarily with swords but in other ways.”

Fraser also appeared in The Sheffield Mysteries at the Crucible last year. He said: “It was an amazing experience, working with Daniel Evans and the cast and the theatre staff as well.

“It was the first time I’ve been involved in something like this.

“For me it was a personal thing as my mum passed away not so long before. I felt I had to do something.

“Towards the end of her life my sister got her into the theatre. She really enjoyed the last few shows she did get to see.

“I saw something online about the auditions for Sheffield People’s Theatre and thought ‘let’s give it a go’. I’d done school plays as a child but my background is in wrestling.”

Fraser explained that wrestling was something he got into by talking to someone at a gym. He wrestled on the West Yorkshire circuit about 12 years ago but the events gradually died off.

He said: “I’ve always been into physical sports. I loved the idea of the physical element as well as the performing element.”

Fraser is excited about this year’s show. He said: “I believe that this is a never before seen show in Sheffield. It’s a spectacle and it’s the sort of show where, years down the line, people will definitely remember certain elements of it. It’s one of those that’s going to stick with you for years.”

One of the younger members of the cast is 13-year-old Dean, who goes to Firth Park Academy.

He is making his debut at the Crucible in this show after spotting a poster about the auditions at school.

Dean is originally from Zimbabwe and moved to Sheffield when he was six with his mum and little brother. He remembers Africa as a beautiful place but feels that he is now very much a Sheffielder.

He said: “I used to do school plays and stuff like that to build up my confidence.

“I thought I’d try different kinds of stuff to see what I’m good at. I just fell into drama and really enjoyed it.”

He appears in the show as a student in a pageant scene. He said: “I think it’s really amazing. Doing the stuff that we do is really life changing in a way.”

Dean has now set his sights on becoming a professional actor and says he would love to appear in Billy Elliott. One of his favourite actors is Jurassic World star Chris Pratt.

He said that people should see the show “to experience something new in Sheffield, different from the sort of shows that usually go on, and to see ordinary people from Sheffield doing a show.

“It gives an opportunity to kids like me to do what you dream to do. Nobody is stopping you.”

Camelot: The Shining City runs until Saturday. Box office: www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk or call 0114 249 6000.

n See P32 for Julia’s review of the show