Sheffield drama group SUDS celebrate a 30-year theatre partnership

Sheffield University Drama Society (SUDS) are delighted to host the return of dynamic duo Ian Gledhill and Lynda Liddament.

Thursday, 24th October 2019, 10:15 am
Updated Friday, 8th November 2019, 12:28 pm
Paul Stanton, Lynda Liddament, Graham Spearing, Mick Connell and Steven Carter in Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus, 2001
Paul Stanton, Lynda Liddament, Graham Spearing, Mick Connell and Steven Carter in Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus, 2001

Their latest production is Oscar Wilde’s scathing satire on the Victorian upper class, A Woman of No Importance.

Ian, who is directing the latest production, and his production manager Lynda first performed Wilde’s works together in The Importance of Being Earnest in 1989 - exactly 30 years ago!

Ian said: “I played Algernon, Lynda was Gwendolen. Wilde’s plays have this sense of gentility but the humour is so cutting.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Ian Glenister, Chris Heery, Lynda Liddament and Adrian Tissier perform in SUDS' production of The Importance of Being Earnest in 1989

“Earnest is possibly his most famous and performed play, but A Woman of No Importance is where some of his most famous lines come from and it contains a powerful message that still resonates today.”

First performed in 1893, A Woman of No Importance follows bachelor and insatiable flirt, Lord Illingworth (Dave Herbert), who is widely admired for his wit.

When he offers Gerald Arbuthnot (Nick Lewis) a once-in-a-lifetime job opportunity, it sets in motion a chain of events that sets Illingworth against Gerald’s mother (Martha Greengrass).

A Woman of No Importance will be Ian and Lynda’s 20th production together for SUDS and the 16th that Ian has directed.

Jill Govier, Chris Heery, Lynda Liddament, Linda Kirk and Alison Munro in rehearsal for Top Girls, 1991

Lynda has been his production manager for nearly all of those.

The pair have embraced a range of works, some more challenging than others - to cast and crew or for audiences!

From Caryl Churchill's Top Girls, which an all-female cast performed in the round, to several Shakespeares, including King Lear, Titus Andronicus and Macbeth.

Lynda Lyddament and Ian Gledhill with Dave Herbert rehearsing Arcadia by Tom Stoppard in 1999

They’ve also tackled modern dramas including works by Tom Stoppard and Arthur Miller.

In recent years, Ian has also produced his own adaptations - including Pat Barker's Regeneration trilogy and the first-ever public performance of a Margaret Cavendish play written in 1662.

Although most of their plays have been at the University Drama Studio, there have also been outdoor productions at Bolsover Castle and Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet, as well as an opera at the Crucible Theatre.

Lynda jokes: “We’ve both been around for 30 years and you can do a lot of stuff in that time!

Ian Brownlee, Mark Powell and Lynda Liddament in The Rise and Fall of the House of York, 2012

“It’s been great revisiting our archive, although the pictures of Ian as Herr Flick wearing his usherette outfit in ‘Allo Allo’ are all missing from this archive. I wonder how that happened...”

They’ve opened their archives for readers of The Star and would love to hear from you if you saw or were involved in these productions.

This archive project is part of Sheffield University Drama Society’s preparations for the group’s 50th birthday celebrations in 2021.

If you have photos or memories of past performances, they would love to hear from you at [email protected] or you can leave your details with the Front of House team at the upcoming performances.

A Woman of No Importance runs from November 13-16 at Sheffield University’s Drama Studio on Glossop Road. Doors at 7pm.

Tickets are £11 (£9 for concessions), and can be purchased in advance at http://bit.ly/AWONISUDS or reserved by phone (0114 255 3417) and by email ([email protected]).

Lynda Liddament and Caroline Denby Hollis in rehearsals for A Woman of No Importance