Sheffield Theatres comprise of three distinctive performance venues, the Crucible, Lyceum and Studio theatres. These venues together form the largest regional theatre complex outside London and contribute significantly to Sheffield’s world-class entertainment offering. The case study concerns a charitable trust, which is responsible for the UK’s leading provincial theatres – the Crucible, Lyceum and Studio Theatres in Sheffield.
The Crucible Theatre first opened in 1971, and during the intervening 34-year period the theatre has seen many new developments and significant changes in its environment – particularly regarding its funding. This project provides an overview of the organisation from when it was extended to include the refurbished Lyceum Theatre in 1990, taking the reader through the subsequent difficulties faced by the theatre and its recovery to an award-winning arts organisation.
The Studio opened in 1971 with a flexible space with seating for up to 400. Crucible and Studio theatres first played host to the world Snooker Championships in 1997 with a broad range of performing arts and host other sporting events alongside the Snooker. The fact that the theatre complex has both commercial and public service objectives to pursue, illustrates that strategy formulation is not just a simple process of matching capabilities to environmental ‘requirements’. Understanding the political context within which strategies are formulated leads to a process of balancing a variety of stakeholder interests whilst delivering and developing cultural and artistic ambitions.1
Evaluation of the theatres
The activity of these three theatres is heavily depending on grants2. The primary sources of grants are the Art Council of England and local authorities while in the early days of the theatre till 1960-1961 the income was based on commercial sources. The current sources of grants increased to four organizations that will be introduced subsequently in pages 5 to 8.
Generally, there are two main branches in the theatre industry: ← Commercial theatre - runs by one or more owners and seek for a profitable return on investment. ← Producing theatre – runs for non-profit organization that receives the public funding for performing arts and enables companies to produce top quality productions.
Basically, there are two different types of theatres; Producing and Touring:
← Producing is the one which finds the artists and run shows or events themselves (Crucible)
← Touring theatre is the one in which the established groups come and show their own productions and the theatre host them (Lyceum and Studio)
The Crucible is working on producing and the Lyceum hosting a new range of touring companies. The Studio theatre hosts a mixed program of chamber music and drama and is the home of an international chamber music festival. Although the distinctive objective of each theatre is different but the three theatres tried to provide the service to the public as well as making money.
The main source of income is through box office, supported by public subsidy from the local authorities and Yorkshire Arts for the repertory productions, and special initiative grants for audience development or Capital projects (refer to page 8). In addition, the theatre receives bar catering revenue, retail sales, consultancy fees, royalties and box office revenue from tours of in-house productions, donations and sponsorship.
The role of audience on products
The performing arts “product” is developed produced and presented to the audience over a few month periods and makes a heavy financial costs burden for a production theatre. The demand of local audience to...