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  • Matt Codd

End Of An Era: Sheffield Theatres Artistic Director Robert Hastie Announces Departure After Unforgettable 8 Years

Robert Hastie, photo by Sam Taylor

Today was a day of mixed emotions for theatre fans in and beyond Sheffield. While we were treated to a stellar season of shows at the Crucible, Playhouse and Lyceum theatres, it was also announced that it will be the final season of shows under the stewardship of Artistic Director Robert Hastie.

Robert Hastie joined Sheffield Theatres as Artistic Director in July 2016, having previously started his career as an actor by performing on the Crucible stage in Edward Bond’s Lear. The eight years since have seen Sheffield Theatres produce 72 new productions and welcome hundreds of guest productions across the three theatres. Theatre made in the city and about the city has been experienced by hundreds of thousands of audience members, in Sheffield and around the world.

Among those 72 shows are numerous standout productions. He directed the multi award-winning national success that is Standing At The Sky's Edge at the Crucible (twice!), as well as at The National Theatre and now on the West End. Under his stewardship he has overseen many other smash-hit successes with Everybody's Talking About Jamie and Life Of Pi. Jamie has been made into a smash feature film while Life of Pi made a hugely successful trip across the pond, becoming a Broadway hit. Both of these productions have had massive success as touring features up and down the country as well.

The Company of Standing at the Sky’s Edge, photo by Johan Persson

During Hastie’s leadership, shows started in Sheffield have collected a total of 9 UK Theatre Awards, 7 Olivier Awards, 3 Tony Awards and 3 Stage Debut Awards. Sheffield Theatres has twice been named Theatre of the Year by The Stage in this time, as well as winning The Stage Award for Achievement in Technical Theatre. In addition to UK Theatre and Olivier Awards, Standing at the Sky’s Edge won the South Bank Sky Arts Award for Theatre, was presented with an honorary degree by Sheffield Hallam University, and was awarded the Made in Sheffield mark. It's no lie that Hastie leaves behind an incredible legacy, and has made the Sheffield Theatres' stage one of the most exciting in the world.

His final season will consist of 8 shows, 5 in the Crucible and 3 in the Playhouse. The 5 shows in the Crucible will be Chariots of Fire (directed by Hastie), A Doll's House, Little Shop of Horrors, Death and the King's Horseman and A Streetcar Named Desire. The Playhouse will see productions of Dizzy, KENREX and Pig Heart Boy.

Hastie has left an indelible mark on not just theatre in Sheffield, but the wider city in general. He has played a key part in putting Sheffield well and truly back on the map and he leaves a huge space to fill. Recruitment for the new Artistic Director will begin this month, but before the post is filled, Hastie will oversee yet another infinitely exciting season of shows, which we can't wait to see under way.


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