OPINION: Sheffield's theatres have a triumphant return season planned so let's show them our support

Sheffield’s world-class theatres are back up and running with a fantastic Autumn season planned – and they desperately need our support.

Friday, 27th August 2021, 4:04 pm
A behind the scenes look at an empty Lyceum Theatre in Sheffield. Picture: Chris Etchells

After being dormant for 17 months, the Lyceum was brought back to life earlier this month when Hairspray opened at the 1,100 seater theatre.

The coronavirus pandemic, and the lockdowns and restrictions put into place as a result, have hit the UK’s theatres incredibly hard.

Stages across the country fell silent, with no indication of when performances might begin again, when the first national lockdown was introduced in March 2020.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

And since then, theatres have battled to survive as strict rules have kept audiences away, resulting in revenue streams drying up completely.

Speaking in March, Dan Bates, Chief Executive of Sheffield Theatres Trust said: “The impact of the pandemic has been immeasurable, but I am very grateful to our team for their loyalty and kindness during this extremely challenging period.”

"We’re very grateful to the Government that there’s been additional support for us to survive, as well as an extension to the support for freelancers who make up such a huge proportion of our workforce,” he added.

A change in the rules on May 17 this year meant indoor performances were permitted to resume with 50 per cent capacity or 1,000 spectators.

It’s fair to say that even in good times, theatres are not big money spinners; and so, when faced with the proposition of slashing audience numbers by half, many theatres were forced to extend their Covid hibernation.

The Crucible welcomed reduced audiences back to see Spiltmilk Dance in May, as part of the inaugural Together Season Festival.

But now that the majority of Covid restrictions have been, Sheffield’s theatres are free to resume their programmes in earnest.

One of the many lessons from the pandemic has been that if we don’t use our favourite businesses, we will lose them, and the city’s theatres are no different.

And they have a fantastic Autumn season planned, with something for everyone, including Heathers the musical, which runs at the Lyceum from September 14-18; Northern Ballet’s Merlin which you can see between November 2 and 6, and the return of pantomime with Cinderella at the Lyceum, running between December 3 and January 3.

To buy tickets or view the full programme, please visit: https://www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk/