Evans said at the launch, “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.”
Evans was in a buoyant mood at the press launch, with an eager response to all questions on the subject of Sheffield. Asked whether he was settling in well, he swiftly replied that he’d participated in the Great Yorkshire Run last week, and waxed lyrical on the “cultural offerings” that Sheffield has.
His knowledgeable comments on Sheffield, which has “the highest potential of students”, displayed an awareness of the city and its inhabitants on his part that bodes well for Sheffield Theatre’s new direction.
Evans also talked about hosting a new one-night show of Sir Ian McKellan’s in Sheffield. He spoke of the potential pitfalls of putting a big name in the “wrong part”, but was confident that “a bit of glamour is always nice to have around.
The potential prospect of extending opportunities for writer to create new theatre pieces in Sheffield was also mentioned. Evans said on the subject, “new writing is the lifeblood of theatre. Without it we’re doomed.” He spoke with admiration of Liverpool’s Everyman Playhouse, which has a new writing programme, suggesting he would not be averse to creating similar opportunities in Sheffield.
His inaugural season opens with a new revival of Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People which he will direct, followed by the world première of Stephanie Street’s Sisters – a verbatim play examining the lives of Muslim women in modern Britain, Roy Williams’ There’s Only One Wayne Matthews, a revival of Sam Shepard’s True West, Alice – a new adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s classic tale by playwright Laura Wade, and the English regional première of Polly Stenham’s award-winning play, That Face.
- Vicky Ellis