Regional powerhouse Sheffield Crucible officially reopens tonight (17 February 2010) after a two-year, £15.3 million renovation (See News, 23 Sep 2009). National press and many of Theatreland’s great and good are heading north for tonight’s opening of the epic new production of Ibsen’s 1882 classic An Enemy of the People, which inaugurates both the new building and the reign of new artistic director Daniel Evans.

In An Enemy of the People, it’s boom town in a spa town, where visitor numbers are higher than ever and the pay-off is huge. In Evans’ revival, Antony Sher stars as Dr Tomas Stockmann, who knows the toxic secret underlying the town’s newfound wealth. If he’s concerned for the health of the people, how can he be their enemy?

Speaking of Sher’s casting at a press conference held in September, Evans said “it will be fantastic to have a knight of the realm” to open his first season and the first season in the new theatre. An actor whose multi award-winning credits include Richard III, Stanley and Torch Song Trilogy, Sher has most recently been seen on stage in The Tempest, Kean, Othello and Primo, the one-man play which he also wrote.

The large-scale production of An Enemy of the People also marks a major step up for Evans, who only started directing five years ago. To date, he has mounted mainly small-scale productions, including two Peter Gill plays at the Young Vic and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. “I felt that I should start with a bang” and “offer myself up” immediately, he has said.


The main auditorium at the refurbished Crucible

An Enemy of the People runs from 17 February to 20 March 2010 (previews form 11 February). The Crucible season continues with: a revival of Sam Shepard’s True West (13 May-5 June); the world premiere of Alice, Laura Wade’s response to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland (17 June-24 July); and further ahead, John Simm’s Hamlet directed by associate Paul Miller in September. Meanwhile, in the Crucible Studio, Evans’ first season includes Stephanie Street’s new verbatim drama about life as a British Muslim woman, Sisters (11-27 March), Roy Williams’ children’s play There’s Only One Wayne Matthews, and the English regional premiere of Polly Stenham’s That Face (1-24 July), directed by associate Richard Wilson.

** Please check back on the site tomorrow for full coverage from the reopening of Sheffield Crucible, including Photos, Review, Review Round-up & an interview with artistic director Daniel Evans! **