By Lucy Bradford
Northern Broadsides’ DSM (Beyond These Walls)

One of the earliest theatre based memories I have is our Year One class trip to see a children’s show called Gargling with Jelly. I don’t remember all that much about the actual play, other than it had a ‘mad scientist’ type character, and that I thought it was hilarious. What I do remember well about that day, is being in the Sheffield Crucible for the first time. Five-year-old me wouldn’t have registered this concept, but it would have been my first experience of a none ‘traditional’ proscenium arch theatre, and I was really struck by being in, what seemed to me then, an unusual theatre space. Fast forward five years and I was performing on the Crucible stage as part of my local Youth Theatre. Fast forward another five years and I was doing my Year 10 work experience with Sheffield Theatres. I called a show for the first time in the Crucible Studio, as a part of the National Theatre’s Connections program, and then I did a placement with Sheffield Theatres as part of my stage management training at Mountview. Now, as DSM for Northern Broadsides’ Beyond These Walls, I’m so excited to be working at the Crucible for the first time in my professional career.

I’ve worked as a freelance stage manager for over five years now, and luckily been able to work in many different theatres up and down the country. For the last few years, Leeds Playhouse (formerly West Yorkshire Playhouse) has taken on the role of my adopted home theatre; I’ve done many productions there and regularly go up to see the things that I haven’t worked on. Whilst Leeds isn’t quite home, it’s been great to work in a Northern based building, that focuses heavily on producing things that feel relevant to the area. Theatre can often feel very concentrated on what’s going on in London, and I’ve always been proud to do work with regional theatres and companies, that tell stories about their own communities. It was for this reason that Northern Broadsides had been on my radar as a company I’d like to work with. To be able to work with them at the Crucible, is beyond perfect.

Lucy, approx aged 10 at Sheffield Crucible Theatre

As a Sheffield girl born and bred, working at the Crucible is something that is so special to me. Sheffield Theatres was such a huge part of my formative years, not only through the more hands on experiences I’ve already mentioned, but also through the many productions I saw there that all fed into my early love of theatre. The afternoons that my mum would let me miss school in order to go to a matinee whenever Northern Ballet were at the Lyceum (the midweek matinees always had a class onstage beforehand which made it extra special), the trips with my Nan to see Joseph, my friend and I’s first unsupervised night out to see a touring production of Footloose; they all played a little part in me choosing theatre as a job. And after a year of not being able to do that job because of Covid, it will feel so good to open Beyond These Walls in my home city, in the building that won over five-year-old me, and set the foundations of my career.