Sheffield's Crucible in top 10 UK venues

The Crucible's importance cannot be overstated - it is the home of the annual snooker championships and provides a venue for some of the country's most creative drama productions in an intimate setting.

Thursday, 4th January 2018, 1:26 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th January 2018, 11:55 am
The Crucible's thrust stage gives the venue a distinct edge.

But now the theatre has been identified as an important part of England's national identity after being ranked alongside Lord's Cricket Ground, Twickenham Stadium and the Blackpool Tower ballroom as one of nation's top 10 places for sports and leisure.

The eclectic list - an Art Deco outdoor swimming pool in Brighton, Stoke Mandeville Hospital and The Mall in London have also made the cut - was chosen by Paralympic athlete Tanni Grey-Thompson as part of a campaign run by Historic England.

A History of England in 100 Places aims to 'tell the country's story', and the Crucible will take the spotlight again in an episode of a special podcast series linked to the initiative presented by broadcaster Emma Barnett.

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The theatre was plucked from a long list of public nominations, the heritage body said, and made the top 10 because of its striking and unusual features, as well as the role it has played in the world snooker tournament.

The Grade II listed building in Tudor Square opened in 1971, designed by Tanya Moiseiwitsch with a hexagonal main auditorium and a pyramid-shaped roof. This style of architecture was influenced by director Sir Tyrone Guthrie, who worked with designers to transform views and experiences of the stage, often mingling audience members closely with performers.

The snooker championships have been held there every spring since 1977, offering career pinnacles for players such as seven-time winner Stephen Hendry, and Ronnie O'Sullivan, who has lifted the trophy five times.

The All England tennis club in Wimbledon, Aintree Racecourse and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London make up the rest of the top 10. Stoke Mandeville was picked as one of the hospital's leading neurosurgeons, Ludwig Guttmann, launched an athletics competition widely considered to be the forerunner of the Paralympic Games at the site in 1948. Meanwhile The Mall, the stretch of road that links Trafalgar Square with Buckingham Palace, triumphed as it presently hosts the London Marathon's finish line.

Tanni said: “Picking a top 10 list was really challenging but an enjoyable experience as you have to take into account both the venue and quite possibly the sporting event. I tried to pick a combination of those with historical value plus local community venues that make a real difference to people’s enjoyment of taking part in sport."

Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England said: “From tennis and cricket to ballroom dancing and swimming, Tanni Grey-Thompson’s selection shows what a rich and varied sporting history we have in England. This category has received the highest number of nominations so far in the campaign, no doubt a testament to our national love and enjoyment of sport and leisure.”

Some categories in the campaign are still open for nominations, and suggestions are invited in the areas of industry, trade and commerce; art, architecture and sculpture; and 'power, protest and progress'. A panel of judges including Professor Robert Winston, classicist Mary Beard and writer Monica Ali are selecting the final lists.

Visit www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/DWHWQLQ to nominate.