The actor spoke to Love London Love Culture’s Emma Clarendon about his latest role in Standing at the Sky’s Edge at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.
Thank you so much for talking to me. For those who don’t know – what is Standing at the Sky’s Edge all about? The show is about a famous Sheffield landmark called Park Hill estate. Park Hill was built in the late fifties in order to rehome people who had previously lived in the slums of the same area. The show follows the lives of several families who lived in Park Hill over the years – woven together with stunning music written by Sheffield songwriter, Richard Hawley.
How have rehearsals been going? Rehearsals for musicals are always extremely complicated – you have to touch on the three components (scenes, music and choreography) individually and bring them all together in a way that best serves the story. At the moment, one of the hardest things to do is sort out the daily schedule! Rehearsals are one of my favourite parts of making a show – it’s the inventive stage where everybody is throwing in ideas.
What can audiences expect from the production? The show has moments that I feel are really heartbreaking. It’s not a straightforward story and nothing is sugar coated. There is a part of the show which, even at this early stage, is so thrilling to watch. The cast is incredible and so gifted, I’m so impressed by them on a daily basis!
What was it about the story that made you want to be involved with the production? The scenes I read for the audition were so pure and honest, really beautiful and simple which can be a rare thing. The songs also instantly grabbed my attention with simple, but artfully crafted lyrics that have a poetic quality that feels characteristic of Yorkshire and the people here.
Could you tell me a bit more about your character? I play Harry who is a proud, passionate and driven man. He’s a steel worker who is involved heavily with the Union. He’s dealt a bad hand by life, and ends up feeling betrayed and quite forgotten by the world.
Is there anything in particular that you think audiences will be able to relate to in the show? Sometimes as an actor, you watch a show and think: ‘this is so cool, I wish I was in it!’ – I think this is one of those shows and this time, I actually get to be! It feels unique and so important.
What are you most looking forward to about bringing Standing at the Sky’s Edge to audiences? In theatre, there are a few things you might expect to hear from an audience but once in a blue moon an audience will react in an involuntary way – like a gasp of shock or joy. When you hear that, it’s just amazing… and I think there’ll be a few of those in this show.
By Emma Clarendon
Standing at the Sky’s Edge is at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield from Friday 15th March – Saturday 6th April.