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The Sheffield Playhouse


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flyingpig

post-240-1174602218.jpgThe old

 

post-240-1174602225.jpg

The Sheffield Playhouse at Townhead Street these pictures were taken in 1970 It wasn't the most attractive building but seems It was much loved at the time by theatregoers and many now famous actors trod the boards there check out the posters in picture 2 foretelling of the new building which was to replace the old.

The_Sheffield_Playhouse_1.jpg

The_Sheffield_Playhouse_2.jpg

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  • 2 months later...

Hi, We used to spend many happy evenings at The Playhouse when we were courting and early married. Didn't seem to be the same when it closed and the Crucible opened.

Thanks for the memory !

John

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  • 1 month later...
Guest moor_larkin

The old Sheffield Playhouse at Townhead Street these pictures were taken in 1970 It was'nt the most attractive building but seems It was much loved at the time by theatregoers and many now famous actors trod the boards there check out the posters in picture 2 foretelling of the new building which was to replace the old.

That's great. Thankyou. I have a small site which includes some pictures of the Playhouse exterior and interior in 1945, and the outside from about 1960. The 1960 picture shows little change from yours in 1970!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/29487363@N02/...57606700675506/

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Guest Everyman

I was in Sheffield just last night, and took the opportunity to track down a few of McGoohan's old haunts. I found Townhead St, and guessed where the Playhouse must have once stood. Quite a nice little road, quite short and steep, and such a contrast of one side with the remaining old houses and the other side with the new offices, etc. I went on to have a look at St Vincent's church (sadly unused now, but still looks great from the outside) and the delapidated buildings next to it which I assume must be the old Youth Club site. Very atmospheric to be so close to where McGoohan's career began. I've written a play about his life, and will be performing it in London, Manchester and Chester over the coming months. I'd be grateful if anyone could suggest a possible venue in Sheffield. More info here: http://www.theunmutual.co.uk/pressreleaseplay2.htm

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I was in Sheffield just last night, and took the opportunity to track down a few of McGoohan's old haunts. I found Townhead St, and guessed where the Playhouse must have once stood. Quite a nice little road, quite short and steep, and such a contrast of one side with the remaining old houses and the other side with the new offices, etc. I went on to have a look at St Vincent's church (sadly unused now, but still looks great from the outside) and the delapidated buildings next to it which I assume must be the old Youth Club site. Very atmospheric to be so close to where McGoohan's career began. I've written a play about his life, and will be performing it in London, Manchester and Chester over the coming months. I'd be grateful if anyone could suggest a possible venue in Sheffield. More info here: http://www.theunmutual.co.uk/pressreleaseplay2.htm

Hi Everyman,

regarding a venue it could be worth checking out The Lantern Theatre

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think the last time I went to the Playhouse was to see "The Stirrings in Sheffield". An excellent play in a fantastic little theatre. :)

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  • 2 months later...

Very little written about this place it seems, on here or anywhere else for that matter.

I only went a few times, one occasion I remember was a school outing to see A Comedy of Errors. That was in the early 60's.

Anyway, for anybody who's interested, here's a story. (I'm guessing at about 1970-72)

I worked at a second hand shop (late 60's to late 70's) and one day a youngish feller turned up at the shop. It was apparent that he had a mental age of much less than his true age.

He told us he owned the Playhouse Theater, and asked us if we wanted to buy the contents.

Needless to say we were a bit dubious about this (as you would be anyway, regardless of his appearance) but he trotted off somewhere and returned a few minutes later with a letter from his solicitors explaining who he was, and that indeed he did own The Playhouse. (They had obviously anticipated such a situation.)

We went with him to look at the place. It was in a sorry state, virtually gutted of any worthwhile stuff. Someone else had obviously been there before us and taken all the seating etc. Just a few chairs, maybe a desk left - I can't really remember. But:-

In true Junk-Shop-Man fashion, we ferreted around in all the nooks and crannies. (you never know what you may find tucked out of the way)

There was a small room, locked with a tiny padlock which we broke off easily. Inside were piles of tin helmets, gas masks, some spades, stirrup pumps and a few other related items, along with a painted sigh which said "ARP Station" or something similar. Even in the late 60's when "war leftovers" were not such an unusual sight, it was quite a turn up.

Anyway we agreed a price, paid, and loaded the van up with what bits of decent furniture was left, along with a selection of the ARP stuff. There was way too much to take the lot, and as I said, this sort of stuff wasn't particularly rare in those days.

We did a roaring trade with the helmets and gas masks. All the kids in the area (and our own kids as well) were running around in them for ages after that. Somewhere there exists a photo of my son wearing his hat and gas-mask. Must try and find it.

The building was pulled down shortly after that.

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  • 5 months later...
Guest Zeke

I too have very happy memories of the Playhouse. I had met one of the cast at a party for the cast and crew of the Playhouse and the Lyceum where I was working as props and tabs man.

I went along with my classical guitar, at the suggestion of a friend of mine, and soon found myself accompanying Rosemary Towler.

Miss Towler was, at the time, one of the cast at the Playhouse.

This sparked a very long friendship which only ended when she died in September of 2005, if I remember correctly.

If I didn't go to see her in a production I would just go to the theatre and spend some time with her in her dressing room - if I didn't take my guitar I was in trouble!

I have started a page on Facebook dedicated to Rosemary Towler and am trying desperately to find more information on the web about this wonderful woman.

Not only was she a actress and singer, but was also an acclomplished graphic artist and calligrapher.

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Guest DougDunn

Hi guys,

I am very interested to hear about the Playhouse and am actually hoping to set up a new theatre company myself in the coming months. A friend told me of a play, performed at the Playhouse in the mid 1960's, about the Sheffield Apprentices of the 19th century. I am particularly interested in this and would appreciate any information that you might possess.

Yours, Doug

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Guest skeets

l remember standing in a small queue at the Playhouse,' with my bride to be', during the last year of the war 1946, when l suddenly remembered it was the wrong Theatre l had been given these two tickets by the producer one boosey night in the Dove and Rainbow, l recalled him directing me to the place and saying Townhead St down there when his taxi had arrived and it was a hurried goodnight, the tickets were put in my ticket pocket and forgotten. lt was at the bottom of Townhead st and up to the top of Hollis Croft on the right it was a [ Church Hall] l then got a clout with her handbag, the play was Night Must Fall, by the Welshman Emllyn Williams, anyhow we rather enjoyed it. So the night didn't Fall Flat after all. Cheers Skeets.

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Hi guys,

I am very interested to hear about the Playhouse and am actually hoping to set up a new theatre company myself in the coming months. A friend told me of a play, performed at the Playhouse in the mid 1960's, about the Sheffield Apprentices of the 19th century. I am particularly interested in this and would appreciate any information that you might possess.

Yours, Doug

Welcome to Sheffield History Doug and thank you for posting.

The play you refer to here sound remarkably like the previously mentioned "The Stirrings In Sheffield On Saturday Night"

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My own recollections of Sheffield Playhouse was a group based there called THEATRE VANGUARD that used to visit local schools doing "drama days" with selected English groups to ecourage better understanding and co-operation in acting and dramatic arts.

The Vanguard group were young, enthusiastic and full of new, modern ideas, - unlike many of the teachers.

Having said many times previously that English, and in particular drama, were my least favourite subjects at school I must admit that Theatre Vanguard, on the day they visited Norfolk School in 1969, had me enthusiastically involved in their scheme so I suppose they must have been doing a fantastic job.

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It certainly does sound like Stirrings, Dave.

This marvellous show first opened at the Playhouse in 1968. Billed as - An Entertainment about Sheffield, it was an enormous success and was revived a couple of times.

The last time I saw it was at The Crucible, not long after that theatre opened.

It was a comedy/drama/musical and was great fun. It's high time this great show was revived.

I still have the programme, and here it is:

As you can see, amongst the excellent Playhouse company at that time was David Bradley

- who for these many years has been the creepy caretaker at Hogwarts - Argus Filch .

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The Stirrings In Sheffield On a Saturday Night was once a favourite play to be performed in local secondary schools for a number of resons.

Firstly, it was local, so the fact that the kids playing the parts couldn't actually deliver their lines in anything other than a strong Sheffield accent didn't matter, - in fact it made the performance better and more realistic.

Secondly the kids loved doing it because, with a bit of ad -libbing, it was a good excuse for an on stage punch up.

Hmmm... perhaps why the schools don't do it as often as they used to <_<

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The old Sheffield Playhouse at Townhead Street these pictures were taken in 1970 It was'nt the most attractive building but seems It was much loved at the time by theatregoers and many now famous actors trod the boards there check out the posters in picture 2 foretelling of the new building which was to replace the old.

Sheffield Playhouse 1893 ?.

NEW THEATRE AT SHEFFIELD

The Era (London, England), Saturday, December 23, 1893;

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Guest abcman

The City Theatre of 1893 was the forerunner of the Lyceum Theatre which opened on the same site in 1897 designed by the eminent theatre designer Sprague.The Sheffield Lyceum is now the only 'Sprague' theatre left outside of London.

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  • 1 year later...
THE SHAUGHRAUN

[9.7.1968 = 27.7.1968]

Black and white on-set photograph of the production of THE SHAUGHRAUN at the Playhouse Theatre, Sheffield, running from 9 July to 27 July 1968.

A typed note on the back reads,

"The villain, CORRY KINCHELA (Frank Hatherley) with CAPTAIN MOLINEUX (Michael Harley) and the two maidens, CLAIRE FFOLLIOTT (Myra Frances) and ARTE O'NEAL (Veronica Lang) in the Sheffield Playhouse production of THE SHAUGHRAUN 1968". A stamp on the back reads "Original Photograph by Donald Cooper".

Source

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Very surprised there is no mention in this thread of two other well known names who appeared later in TV serials; Paul Eddington and Anne Stallybrass. Paul in 'The Good Life', 'Yes Minister' and its sequel, also 'The Camomile Lawn' whilst Anne was in the long running 'Onedin Line', both appeared at the Playhouse around the same time as John Rutland and Patrick McGoohan as far as I recall.

My parents were regular attenders at Townhead Street  in the late 40's, 50's and 60's.  

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