The Band Plays On has virtual opening night online at Crucible Theatre

The Crucible Theatre enjoyed the virtual opening night of its online show, The Band Plays On, celebrating Sheffield’s history and strong women.

The Sheffield Theatres Production from writer Chris Bush features music from iconic Sheffield artists such as the Arctic Monkeys, Def Leppard, Geoff Stephens, Moloko, Jarvis Cocker and Slow Club.

Robert Hastie, Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres, said: “It was joyous to have so many people virtually gather to open The Band Plays On. Whilst very different to our usual opening nights, we welcomed over 600 people watching from home, so we’re olverwhelmed by the excitement of our audience.”

The show, described as a rousing night of extraordinary tales, explores stories of solidarity and survival from the steel city through a collection of monologues.

The show stars Jocasta Almgill (Rent, & Juliet), Anna-Jane Casey (Annie Get Your Gun), Sandra Marvin (Showboat, Waitress), Maimuna Memon (Jesus Christ Superstar) and Jodie Prenger (A Taste of Honey, Oliver!).

Jodie Prenger said: “Being part of this production makes me feel nothing but utter pride, and of course a little bit giddy. Working with a fabulous cast, crew and creatives on a brilliant new Chris Bush play, and to top it all off, I get to play at the Crucible in Sheffield.”

The Band Plays On includes tales about Dale Dyke Dam bursting in 1864, the Hillsborough Disaster, Jessica Ennis-Hill’s olympic hopes, politics, all the way from Neil Kinnock’s Sheffield rally to Brexit divisions and fallout from a fictional nuclear winter.

Mr Hastie added: “We had so much positive feedback online – it was lovely to see photos of people’s screens as they watched along! With such supportive comments, we’re delighted to share the On Demand show to many more people during the next fortnight.”

Fans took to social media to praise the show.

The show was originally planned to be performed in front of a live socially-distanced audience however after the lockdown was announced at the start of the year, the decision was made to record the show and put it online.

The Band Plays On is available to watch on demand until 28 March.

Image credit: Chris Saunders

Written by Joel Hooke

Trainee journalist at the University of Sheffield. Twitter: @JoelHookeJourno

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