His opening season will also include the world premiere of a new verbatim play, a revival of Sam Shepard's True West, a new theatrical adaptation of Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland," a revival of a play by Roy Williams previously seen at London's Polka Theatre, and the English regional premiere of Polly Stenham's That Face.
Evans, who was appointed to the post of artistic director in April 2009, takes up the reins at Sheffield Theatres — the umbrella organization for the complex of the Crucible Theatre (that contains a main house and a studio theatre) and Lyceum Theatre — as the company prepares to re-launch the Crucible after a £15.3 million refurbishment. The theatre was closed for essential refurbishment work in December 2007; the project is due for completion early in 2010.
In a press statement, Evans has commented, "Having had such fulfilling experiences as an actor at Sheffield Theatres, it has been extremely edifying to return to the company as artistic director. Running a theatre is something I've dreamed of doing since I was a teenager and, for me, Sheffield is the perfect place…. In choosing the plays for the opening season, I've concentrated on two guiding principles: first, I wanted to offer a variety of work (including classics, world premieres, adaptations and theatre for young people), and secondly, I wanted to present plays that speak directly to the city of Sheffield and the region at this moment in time. Next year the Crucible will celebrate its 40th anniversary and I look forward to working with the team at Sheffield and the audiences in South Yorkshire to ensure that the company will re-establish itself at the forefront of regional theatre in the U.K."
Evans has recently appointed Paul Miller, Lyndsey Turner and Richard Wilson as associate directors to work alongside him, and each of them will direct a production in the opening season.
Evans will himself launch the season by directing Ibsen's An Enemy of the People in the Crucible Theatre, in a version by Christopher Hampton that was first produced at the National Theatre in 1997. It begins performances Feb. 11, 2010, prior to an official opening Feb. 17, for a run through March 20. Antony Sher, Tony nominated for Best Actor in a Play for his performance in the Broadway transfer of Pam Gems' Stanley from the National Theatre in 1997, and also seen on Broadway in the solo play Primo in 2005, will make his Crucible Theatre debut as Dr. Tomas Stockmann, a man who exposes a toxic secret underlying the newfound wealth of the spa town he lives in. The production will also feature the largest community chorus seen at the Crucible, with over 30 local residents performing. The production is designed by Ben Stones, with lighting by Tim Mitchell and music and sound by Ben and Max Ringham. Also in the mainhouse Crucible Theatre, associate director Paul Miller will direct a new production of Sam Shepard's True West, beginning performances May 13, 2010, prior to an official opening May 18, for a run through June 5; and associate director Lyndsey Turner will direct Alice, a new adaptation of Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland" by playwright Laura Wade, beginning performances June 17, prior to an official opening June 22, for a run through July 24.
The season in the Studio will begin with the world premiere of Stephanie Street's Sisters, a new play based on interviews with dozens of women across the country and around Sheffield on the subject of what it is like to be a Muslim woman in Britain today. It begins performances March 11, 2010, prior to an official opening March 16, for a run through March 27. (There will be a women-only performance on March 24). The play is directed by Ruth Carney, with designs by Paul Wills and lighting by David Howe.
Roy Williams' There's Only One Wayne Matthews, originally premiered at London's Polka Theatre in 2007, will be revived in the Studio in a new production by Dawn Walton, beginning performances March 30, 2010, prior to an official opening March 31, for a run to April 2. Prior to its run in the Studio, it will tour to schools across the region.
Associate director Richard Wilson will direct the English regional premiere of Polly Stenham's That Face, originally seen at the Royal Court in 2007 before transferring to the West End's Duke of York's. It will begin performances July 1, 2010, prior to an official opening July 7, for a run through July 24.
Priority booking for the season opens Sept. 26, with public booking from Oct. 3. To book tickets, contact the box office on 0114 249 6000, or visit www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk.