Sheffield Theatres today announces that it has been awarded £385,250 Arts Council capital funding for a project that will refurbish the Crucible’s front of house areas and upgrade its technical equipment. The work will create a more welcoming and vibrant space for customers to enjoy throughout the day, as well improving production quality, accessibility and environmental sustainability in a project which will total more than £600,000.
Dan Bates, Chief Executive at Sheffield Theatres, said: ‘We are very thankful that the Arts Council has awarded us this funding.
‘As the Crucible nears its 50th birthday in 2021, we’re committed to it remaining a place that welcomes everyone, as well as a building that’s equipped with the technology to create brilliant work on our stages. I’m excited that we’ve been supported by this funding to refurbish the Crucible’s front of house, offering a more vibrant and comfortable environment where everyone can create, work and play throughout the day. We’ll also install new lighting, sound and captioning equipment which will help us continue to create ambitious and fantastic productions as well as improving our accessibility, our financial resilience and our environmental sustainability.
This funding will make a huge difference to Sheffield Theatres, to our audiences, to artists and to our city.’
The funding will enable the refurbishment of the front of house and café areas of the Crucible. The plans place audience comfort at the heart of the experience, with the addition of furnishings and décor that will make the building a place that welcomes everyone to spend time throughout the day. The main foyer space is currently home to community events such as Fun Palaces and Dementia Friendly Tea Dances. Post-refurbishment the aim is to create the space to expand the community-led programme as well as somewhere that’s open for people to meet, study, work or enjoy creative play and performance.
Sheffield Theatres has a national reputation for creating outstanding productions, most recently winning five UK Theatre awards for two world premieres: Life of Pi and Standing at the Sky’s Edge. Last month the West End transfer of its production of Life of Pi was announced, and next year Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, which started life on the Crucible stage, embarks on a UK tour, as well as continuing to run in the West End. Work of this quality and scale demands state-of-the-art technical support and because the Crucible’s own in-house equipment is ageing, this often means increased costs to hire suitable lighting and sound gear. The capital investment will enable the Theatres to reduce hire fees and the time spent repairing and maintaining outdated equipment, as well as giving artists and theatre makers the resources that they need and deserve to create their best work.
Sheffield Theatres will also replace the ‘twinkle light’ sky in the auditorium to more energy efficient LED fittings; install video conferencing to offer better facilities for staff and artists to collaborate nationally and internationally, thereby reducing costs and the environmental impact of travel; and procure new captioning equipment which will increase the range of performances supporting customers who are D/deaf or have a hearing impairment.
The refurbishment of the Crucible is planned to take place in summer 2020 when there is a traditional break in the programme. In order to complete the funding for the project, Sheffield Theatres will undertake a fundraising campaign with the aim of raising £25k, more details of which will be announced soon.