The main entrance to the Crucible Theatre in 2010
55 Norfolk Street|
Sheffield, S1 1DA
|Designation||Grade II listed building|
The Crucible Theatre (often referred to simply as "The Crucible") is a theatre in the city centre of Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England which opened in 1971, As well as theatrical performances, it hosts the most prestigious event in professional snooker, the World Championship. The theatre was refurbished between 2007 and late 2009 and officially reopened 18 February 2010.
The Crucible Theatre was built by M J Gleeson and opened in 1971, replacing the Playhouse Repertory theatre in Townhead Street. In 1967 Colin George, the founding Artistic Director of the Crucible, recommended a thrust stage for Sheffield, inspired by theatres created by Sir Tyrone Guthrie. Tanya Moiseiwitsch, who had been involved in designing Guthrie's theatres, was the designer. The architects Renton Howard Wood Levin Architects were engaged and the building itself began to take shape in 1969. It was completed in two years, on time for the opening performance in November 1971 of Fanfare, an evening's entertainment comprising children participating in an improvised scene, Chekhov's Swan Song with Ian McKellen and Edward Petherbridge and a music hall finale with a Sheffield brass band.
This demonstrated the versatility of the stage, which has since been adapted to dance and musical performance, as well as classical and modern theatre, and receives touring productions, as well as hosting squash and the World Snooker Championship.
The audience sits on three sides but no member is more than the length of a cricket wicket – 22 yards (20 metres) – from the performer, or indeed a snooker ball. Consequently, although it seats 980 people the spectator has an intimate relationship with the activity on stage. Colin George and the Administrator David Brayshaw persuaded the Gulbenkian Foundation to finance for the first time the building of a professional theatre – the 400 seat Studio, which opened with the main house.
The building went through a £15 million refurbishment between 2007 and late 2009 – opening during that period only for the 2008 and 2009 World Snooker Championships.
The Crucible is a producing theatre, meaning shows are designed and rehearsed in-house. These productions are normally overseen by the Sheffield Theatres Group.
The World Snooker Championship tournament has been played annually in the Crucible since 1977. The Ladies World Snooker Championship was also held at the Crucible between 1998 and 2003 but was eventually withdrawn due to financial difficulties. The venue has also hosted championships of other indoor sports, such as table tennis and squash.
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- The acoustical design and performance of the Sheffield Crucible Theatre, D. J. Oldham, Dept. of Building Science, Faculty of Architectural Studies, University of Sheffield (1973), OL 13964103M, OCLC 20304835
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