Today Sheffield Theatres launches Free Cheers For Sheffield, an online programme that will celebrate the Theatres’ greatest moments, continue its dementia friendly programme and support children and young people with creative activities and educational resources.
Robert Hastie, Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres said, “Theatre is what we do, not just the buildings where we do it. With Free Cheers we’re reaching beyond our walls to celebrate the joy and the sense of community that theatre gives us.
I’m excited to be reuniting actors to reminisce about their performances and to talk about the difference theatre makes to people’s lives and to society. I’m also looking forward to continuing to connect to people living with dementia and reaching out to those who are isolated and lonely in our communities. Free Cheers will help us to wrap our arms around some of those who need us most.
And it’s great to be working with Learn Sheffield to develop our offer for children and young people, as well as sharing insights and activities on our website that help support home learning.”
The Free Cheers programme will include recorded and live performances of musical numbers from stand-out productions including Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Guys and Dolls and The Wizard of Oz; an exclusive live performance by Richard Hawley and insights from artists including Hiran Abeysekera, Mina Anwar, Ben Batt, Lolita Chakrabarti, Jonathan Hyde, Lesley Nicol, and legendary pantomime Dame, Damian Williams.
The Bank cohort of writers (Ella Hardy, Todd Heppenstall, John Hunter, Laura Lindsay, Kat Rose Martin and Tim Norwood) will be creating a series of shorts which will be produced, directed and performed online by local artists, including Nadia Emam, John Rwothomack, Elin Schofield and Hassun El-Zafar. The Theatres also continue to make plans for outdoor Shakespeare performances in the city’s green spaces later this summer with Shakespeare to Sheffield, subject to Government advice.
The Theatres will be connecting with people living with dementia and reaching out to those who are feeling isolated through The Great Sheffield Cheer. They’re asking children and young people to draw pictures and write letters and stories that can be shared with people across the city and they’re eager to hear nominations for people who would enjoy receiving one of these ‘cheers’.
Sheffield Theatres will work with Learn Sheffield to develop their offer to children and young people as the plans for schools evolves over the coming months. The Theatres will also contribute to the Bags of Creativity project which will see activity packs and art materials delivered to more than 8000 children across the city.
Dan Bates, Chief Executive of Sheffield Theatres commented: “Staying connected with our audiences is really important and I’m so pleased that we can do this through the Free Cheers programme. Our resources are very limited right now, with most staff furloughed and no income since we closed our doors in March. We’re so grateful to all the audiences who have donated over the last few months. Every penny we raise helps us deliver this programme and plan for our return when it’s safe for us to be back. We need as much support as possible to continue to create bold and brilliant work as we navigate through this challenging time. We hope that everyone who enjoys the Free Cheers programme will consider making a donation and becoming a Sheffield Theatres Cheer Leader.”
The announcement of the Free Cheers for Sheffield programme comes as the Government has confirmed that theatres are unable to host live performances at the present time. Over the coming months, the theatres will develop the programme based on available funds and evolving guidelines for arts and entertainment. To date the Theatres has announced that all performances through to the 20 July are postponed or cancelled and continues to review its plans for reopening in dialogue with touring producers and in line with the latest guidance. Preparations for the World Snooker Championship which opens on 31 July are now underway with scenarios including admitting an audience or playing behind closed doors.