Sheffield musicals win big at UK Theatre Awards

Sheffield Theatres are celebrating after winning five national awards for their productions of Life of Pi and Standing at the Sky’s Edge.

Tuesday, 29th October 2019, 2:28 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th November 2019, 9:28 am
Fela Lufadeju and the company of Standing at the Sky's Edge, Crucible Theatre

For Life of Pi, the theatre company was awarded best new play; best director for Max Webster; best design for Nick Barnes, Finn Caldwell, Carolyn Downing, Andrzej Goulding, Tim Hatley and Tim Lutkin; and best performance in a play for Hiran Abeysekera at the 2019 UK Theatre Awards.

Also taking home an award for best musical production was Standing at the Sky’s Edge, inspired by the music of Sheffield rock star Richard Hawley and written by city playwright Chris Bush.

Robert Hastie, artistic director of Sheffield Theatres, said: “We are so proud to have won five UK Theatre Awards. These awards recognise the talent and expertise of our brilliant actors and artists as well as the dedicated staff who realise the ambitious vision for our work.

Life-sized puppets including the zebra seen here appear in Life of Pi at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield

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“Standing at the Sky's Edge and Life of Pi made a huge impact on our audiences, with countless people telling us how moved and overwhelmed they were when they saw them.

“To have the industry recognise the significance of these shows too is an affirmation of how important it is to invest in new work and to continue to take risks on our stages.”

The Crucible’s production of Standing at the Sky’s Edge, which opened in March this year, was directed by Hastie and charted the lives of a set of Park Hill residents from when the iconic Brutalist flats were first constructed to the present day.

It invited audiences to follow three intersecting stories of a young steelworker and his wife who moved into the new council estate in 1960, a refugee family who arrive in 1989 when the neighbourhood was in decline and a young professional who is attracted by the Park Hill of 2016, revamped as private homes by developer Urban Splash.

Owain Gwynn as Richard Parker the Tiger and Hiran Abeysekera as Pi in Life of Pi

Meanwhile, Life of Pi came to The Crucible in June and featured an array of wonderful special effects and eerily realistic animal puppets.

The stage adaptation by Lolita Chakrabarti of Yann Martell’s best-selling novel, it follows the story of a 16-year-old Indian boy who sets off to emigrate with his family but becomes stranded on a lifeboat in the Pacific Ocean with a hyena, a zebra, an orangutan and a hungry Bengal tiger for company.

Earlier this month it was announced that Sheffield Theatres’ production would be transferring to London’s Wyndham Theatre from June 2020, following an innovative reinvention of its auditorium.

Louis Gaunt, Alastair Natkiel, Deborah Tracey, Damian Myerscough, Nicole Deon, Fela Lufadeju and Johanne Murdock in Standing at the Sky's Edge, Crucible Theatre