The critically acclaimed theatre company, formed in 2001 with the aim of producing culturally diverse theatre for regional venues, are set to take up a residency at Sheffield Theatres. A spokesperson from Sheffield Theatres press department confirmed the move would take place “within a couple of weeks.”
The theatrical union was forged when Dawn Walton, artistic director for Eclipse, spent time in Sheffield directing There’s Only One Wayne Matthews earlier this year. Discussions between Dawn, Sheffield Theatres’ chief executive, Dan Bates and artistic director, Daniel Evans, led the two organisations to strike a deal over their shared values and commitment to developing audiences. Their talks also left potential for the two companies to collaborate on future productions.
Expressing his excitement at the impending collaboration, Daniel Evans said: “We are thrilled to welcome Eclipse to the Crucible. This is an exciting partnership for many mutually beneficial reasons. We hope that their new office base at the Crucible will offer Eclipse greater stability and support, while Sheffield Theatres will undoubtedly benefit from working alongside Eclipse’s pioneering vision. This is an exciting time for both organisations as it offers a unique opportunity for us to encourage diversity within the world of theatre.”
Dawn Walton shared Evans’ anticipation for extending the role of diversity in regional theatre: “The partnership between Eclipse Theatre Company and Sheffield Theatres is a unique opportunity to create a model of 21st century regional theatre that has diversity at its core. I am delighted that Eclipse Theatre Company will make its home in the exciting and vibrant Crucible at the heart of Sheffield.”
Eclipse Theatre was originally founded to tour Black work to the regional, middle-scale touring venues, producing such critically acclaimed productions as The Hounding of David Oluwale, Michael X and most recently Sus. The company has developed strong relationships with some of the UK’s most culturally relevant writers including Roy Williams and Oladipo Agboluaje.
Dawn Walton began her career at the Royal Court Theatre, going on to be awarded the Jerwood Young Director’s Award at the Young Vic. Her directing credits include Urban Legend (Liverpool Everyman); Oxford Street, 93.2FM and Drag-On (Royal Court Theatre); Winners and The Blacks (Young Vic Theatre).
- Vicky Ellis