Summary Sheffield Theatre Trust.

Authors Avatar

Summary Sheffield Theatre Trust

The Sheffield Theatre Trust is responsible for the UK’s leading provincial theatres; a profile of high quality producing theatre (Crucible) and a strong history of touring theatre (Lyceum). A producing theatre commissions and finances productions and employs it’s own artistes through artistic direction. Touring theatre have a contracts with touring companies who bring their production and own artistes to the theatre.

The Sheffield Theatre company is, outside London, unique in the UK in being able to produce, co-produce and present independent productions all in one complex. With an income of around £5m the Sheffield Theatre Trust company aims to create high quality artistic work, filling sufficient seats and work without deficits.

Theatre buildings in Sheffield

The Lyceum Theatre opened in 1897 and is now a grade II listed building with the advantage of traditional theatres of having no pillars obstructing audience views and having one of the deepest stages in the country. In 1968 the Lyceum had to close down in because of lack of investment and modern amenities and became a bingo hall.  After giving The Playhouse, another theatre in Sheffield, an Arts Council grant a change took place from being a commercial theatre to becoming a subsidised theatre. In 1966 Sheffield Council announced its intention to sponsor the building of a new theatre of 800-900 seats. This would be mainly a producing house, although with the demise of the Lyceum, it would also host some touring productions. The result was the Crucible Theatre, completed in 1971 at a total cost of           £ 884,000, on a site next door to the Lyceum. After some controversy, the final building comprised a main auditorium with 980 seats around three sides of a thrust stage and a smaller Studio Theatre with 250 seats (now increased to allow up to 400).

The Playhouse completed its last season in 1970/71 and the Crucible opened in a blaze of publicity. The most notable difference between the Crucible and the Playhouse was the range of activities which were undertaken. Apart form the two stages, there was a restaurant, coffee bar, shop and licensed bar.

In 1981 there was a major local campaign to reopen the Lyceum as a theatre and in 1987 the Sheffield City Council agreed to redevelop it. On completion in 1990 the restored Lyceum Theatre provided a historic theatre, thoroughly refurbished to modern standards and with seating of 1,100. For reasons of economy of scale it was decided to form a new company, Sheffield Theatres, to run both the Lyceum and the Crucible.

Join now!


In 1972, less than a year after the Crucible opened, it had unprecedented losses. Over the following years the Crucible encountered severe losses under several overall directors. Structures were changed. Changes were made to budgets, planning on much lower percentages of seats filled. Despite the pressure, under Clare Venables the theatre enjoyed a considerable reputation with productions that were both controversial and challenging artistically. But with the reopening of the Lyceum, the Crucible took a back seat. Stephen Barry was the new chief executive of Sheffield Theatres and also other staff changes took place. The Lyceum brought ...

This is a preview of the whole essay