The theatre industry is set for a return in Sheffield, as the Sheffield Together Festival season launches on 24 May.
The upcoming event sees 13 local artists and is a two-week celebration of artists in the area and their work. It features a range of different productions created from the people in and around Sheffield.
Anthony Lau, associate artistic director of Sheffield Theatres said, “I think it is important for theatres to champion the artists around them and it is certainly something Sheffield theatres has always tried to do”.
“We felt like it was important after this year when so many local artists projects have been cut short or postponed and people have not been able to make things and share their work with people”.
The festival line-up was programmed by Lau and 12 external members of the public, which included people from different backgrounds. Lau said, “I think it was important to involve external voices but also be more transparent in how we programme work and let panel members that stood for different groups in society”.
The pandemic has severely disrupted the industry over the past 13 months with freelance theatre artists having to work online whilst generating little income. However, the Crucible Theatre opened this month for the World Snooker Championships
Anthony Lau has been working with other people in the management team in a combined effort to save the theatre industry from the effects that the pandemic has caused.
Lau has only been in the role of artistic director since October but has since helped local freelance artists with the Remote Residencies and Professional Development fund. This was to provide a fund to local freelance workers so they can continue to produce work.
He said, “Many freelancers felt that it was very tricky for them due to a lack of security and support, both from organisations and the government, so we felt that it was vital to help them out and encourage them to carry on producing amazing work”.