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Lyceum Theatre (Sheffield)

Lyceum Theatre (Sheffield)

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Built in 1897 following a traditional proscenium arch design, the Lyceum is the only surviving theatre outside of London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 designed by the famous theatre architect W.G.R. Sprague and the last example of an Edwardian auditorium in Sheffield. The Statue on top of the Lyceum Theatre is Mercury
Mercury (mythology)
Mercury was a messenger who wore winged sandals, and a god of trade, the son of Maia Maiestas and Jupiter in Roman mythology. His name is related to the Latin word merx , mercari , and merces...

, son of Zeus
Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

 and Maia
Maia (mythology)
In Greek mythology, Maia is one of the Pleiades and the mother of Hermes. The goddess known as Maia among the Romans may have originated independently, but attracted the myths of Greek Maia because the two figures shared the same name.-Birth:...

.

By the late fifties, the Lyceum were experiencing financial difficulties and by 1966 bingo callers were keeping the rumoured threat of demolition at bay. The theatre closed in 1969 and, despite being granted Grade II listed status in 1972, planning permission was sought for its demolition in 1975. The building was saved in part due to campaigning by the Hallamshire Historic Buildings Society.

Over the years the building changed ownership many times, being used variously as a bingo hall and a rock concert venue. By the 1980s the interior was in a state of disrepair. The City Council bought the building in 1985, and it was reclassified to Grade II* listed status. Between 1988 and 1990 the Lyceum was completely restored at a cost of £12 million.

The theatre reopened in 1990 and now serves as a venue for touring West End
West End theatre
West End theatre is a popular term for mainstream professional theatre staged in the large theatres of London's 'Theatreland', the West End. Along with New York's Broadway theatre, West End theatre is usually considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English speaking...

 productions and operas by Opera North
Opera North
Opera North is an English opera company based in Leeds. The company's home theatre is the Leeds Grand Theatre, but it also presents regular seasons in several other cities, at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham, the Lowry Centre, Salford Quays and the Theatre Royal, Newcastle...

, as well as locally produced shows. It is part of the Sheffield Theatres
Sheffield Theatres
Sheffield Theatres is a theatre complex in Sheffield, South Yorkshire comprising three theatres: the Crucible, the Lyceum and the Crucible Studio...

 complex with the neighbouring Crucible Theatre
Crucible Theatre
The Crucible Theatre is a theatre built in 1971 and located in the city centre of Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England. As well as theatrical performances, it is home to the most important event in professional snooker, the World Snooker Championship....

 and the Crucible Studio.

Home of Pantomime


The Lyceum prides itself as being the home of Sheffield's Pantomime. For many years, the months between Christmas Eve and Easter were Panto-time with visiting producers bringing famous actors and variety turns to entertain local families twice a day. In the forties, the Lyceum began to produce its own pantomime and were soon bringing in stars of radio such as Morecambe and Wise
Morecambe and Wise
Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise, usually referred to as Morecambe and Wise, or Eric and Ernie, were a British comic double act, working in variety, radio, film and most successfully in television. Their partnership lasted from 1941 until Morecambe's death in 1984...

, Harry Secombe
Harry Secombe
Sir Harry Donald Secombe CBE was a Welsh entertainer with a talent for comedy and a noted fine tenor singing voice. He is best known for playing Neddie Seagoon, the central character in the BBC radio comedy series The Goon Show...

 and Frankie Howerd
Frankie Howerd
Francis Alick "Frankie" Howerd OBE was an English comedian and comic actor whose career, described by fellow comedian Barry Cryer as "a series of comebacks", spanned six decades.-Early career:...

.

However, closure of the Lyceum meant that after the final Pantomime performance in March 1969, Sheffield's pantomimes took place in the neighbouring Crucible
Crucible Theatre
The Crucible Theatre is a theatre built in 1971 and located in the city centre of Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England. As well as theatrical performances, it is home to the most important event in professional snooker, the World Snooker Championship....

. The pantomime returned to the Lyceum in 1990s, courtesy of touring production companies.

In 2007, Sheffield Theatres
Sheffield Theatres
Sheffield Theatres is a theatre complex in Sheffield, South Yorkshire comprising three theatres: the Crucible, the Lyceum and the Crucible Studio...

 replaced the touring companies by starting co-production with Evolution Pantomimes. Their first show Cinderella
Cinderella
"Cinderella; or, The Little Glass Slipper" is a folk tale embodying a myth-element of unjust oppression/triumphant reward. Thousands of variants are known throughout the world. The title character is a young woman living in unfortunate circumstances that are suddenly changed to remarkable fortune...

 was followed by Aladdin
Aladdin
Aladdin is a Middle Eastern folk tale. It is one of the tales in The Book of One Thousand and One Nights , and one of the most famous, although it was actually added to the collection by Antoine Galland ....

 in 2008 and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Snow White
"Snow White" is a fairy tale known from many countries in Europe, the best known version being the German one collected by the Brothers Grimm...

 in 2009.

See also

  • Sheffield Theatres
    Sheffield Theatres
    Sheffield Theatres is a theatre complex in Sheffield, South Yorkshire comprising three theatres: the Crucible, the Lyceum and the Crucible Studio...

  • Crucible Theatre
    Crucible Theatre
    The Crucible Theatre is a theatre built in 1971 and located in the city centre of Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England. As well as theatrical performances, it is home to the most important event in professional snooker, the World Snooker Championship....

  • Crucible Studio

External links