Directed by another actor-turned-director, Sheffield associate Richard Wilson, who is a former associate at the Royal Court, where The Pride premiered in 2008, the new production will run in the Studio at Sheffield Crucible from 28 June to 16 July 2011 (previews from 23 June).
Evans will play Oliver, the role originated by Bertie Carvel, a writer who beguiles a married man. The three-hander is set in 1958 and 2008, with a love story that unfolds differently across the time periods. Speaking today, Evans heralded The Pride as “undoubtedly one of the best new plays of the last decade”.
Evans’ many previous acting credits include Cloud Nine and The Tempest (opposite Derek Jacobi, which transferred to the West End) at Sheffield, prior to taking over as artistic director, Sondheim musicals Sunday in the Park with George and Merrily We Roll Along and numerous plays at the Royal Court, National and elsewhere. Since taking the helm at Sheffield, he’s confined himself to running the building and directing (last year’s opening production of Ibsen’s The Enemy of the People and, currently, Racing Demon as part of the David Hare season), apart from one-off concert performances for Stephen Sondheim’s 80th birthday celebrations in 2010.
For Christmas 2011, he’ll take to the stage again to play perennial bachelor Bobby in Sheffield’s revival of Sondheim’s 1970 Broadway classic Company, directed by Jonathan Munby.
In the meantime, other new productions announced for Sheffield Theatre’s 2011 spring/summer programme include: on the Crucible’s main stage, a new production of Hobson’s Choice (26 May-25 June), Harold Brighouse’s 1916 English comedy about a cobbler and his daughters, directed by Christopher Luscombe; and in the Studio, a 50th anniversary revival of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days (20 May-4 June), directed by Jonathan Humphreys.
The Crucible will celebrate its own 40th anniversary in November 2011, with full programming still to be announced. Evans promised today: “During this time of uncertainty in the arts sector, this landmark birthday will not only celebrate our iconic building but also the essential role we play in the city and the region’s cultural, economic and spiritual life.”