Sheffield Crucible star of Standing at the Sky’s Edge, Rachael Wooding, has high hopes for musical

Doncaster actress Rachael Wooding plays a young woman full of hope for a new life in Park Hill, and she’s full of optimism that the show could do great things.

By Julia Armstrong
Tuesday, 26 March, 2019, 24:07
Rachael Wooding and Robert Lonsdale as Rose and Harry in Standing at the Sky's Edge

Rachael said: “It’s centred around one flat and three timelines. Harry and Rose start in the 1960s, just when Park Hill was opened.

“Rose is 23 and newly married and has come from nothing. She feels very lucky to be given the opportunity to live there. Her husband works in steel, on course to be a foreman.

“The storylines span three timelines – 1960, 1979 and 2016. We see the Thatcher era and the steelworks strike and ultimately he has no job and what that means for a young family.”

Rachael is from the Harlington area of Doncaster and went to Ridgewood School.

She said: “My dad knew people who lived in Park Hilll, people like the characters and what they were doing at this particular time.

“It was very much like my family, there were a lot of miners.”

Rose has similarities to Rachael’s grandmother. She said: “Elsie, my dad’s mum, worked for years and used to go out to a dance at night to do sequence dancing, where she met my grandad.

“I literally read the script and immediately knew several people who spoke like that.

“We’re very much open with our feelings and talk about things now, but they put up and shut up and and got on with it.

“It was very much that way of life. I can definitely draw on that.”

The cast spoke to people who lived in Park Hill and saw some of the film footage of the early days of Park Hill, when tenants had been moved out of their slum homes into the much talked-of ‘streets in the sky’ and a better life.

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Rachael said of the show: “It’s special. I knew it from the minute I got this script through.

“I knew the Crucible put incredible work out and this is a brand new British musical with two incredible Sheffield writers, one never having done it before.”

She was full of praise for scriptwriter Chris Bush: “What she writes so well is the three different eras and really understands and gets that.” 

Rachael said she loves the way the music of Richard Hawley is woven into the show.

“It’s almost like a play and a gig. You’ve got these elements of different things.

“Yes, these songs have existed prior to this but they’re very much changed up and moved around.”

Rachael sings in cabaret as well as acts as she says that fits well around her little girl, Emilia.

She’senjoyed working in Sheffield as she can stay in Harlington with her family. Her partner and daughter, who is in pre-school, can also join her there at the weekends.

Rachael very much hopes the musical will follow in the footsteps of Crucible show Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, which has had a long West End run,  is returning to Sheffield on a national tour and is being adapted for the big screen by Sheffield-based Warp Films.

She said: “With what happened with ‘Jamie’, I feel like they’re definitely  pushing at an open door as to what could be. 

“For it just to exist for two and a half weeks would be wrong. ???????It deserves more.”