The National Theatre and Various Productions announce today initial casting for the West End transfer of Sheffield Theatres' smash-hit production, Standing at the Sky's Edge. Written as a love letter to Sheffield and the city's iconic Park Hill Estate, this 2023 Olivier Award-winning ‘Best New Musical' is directed by Sheffield Theatres' Artistic Director, Robert Hastie and features songs by the legendary Sheffield singer-songwriter, Richard Hawley. With a hilarious and gut-wrenching book by Chris Bush, Standing at the Sky's Edge charts the hopes and dreams of three generations over the course of six tumultuous decades, navigating universal themes of love, loss and survival. It will make its West End premiere at the Gillian Lynne Theatre in London from 8 February 2024. Tickets from £25: here.
Joining the cast are, Elizabeth Ayodele (Small Island, National Theatre; Steel Magnolias, Trafalgar Theatre Productions) as Joy, Joel Harper-Jackson (Cock, Elliot & Harper Productions; Kinky Boots, Adam Blanshay Productions) as Harry, Sharlene Hector (A Strange Loop, Trafalgar Theatre Productions/National Theatre; Hairspray, Adam Spiegal Productions/Fiery Angel) as Grace, Mel Lowe (Orlando, The Michael Grandage Company; A Billion Times I Love You, Homotopia/Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse) as Connie, Laura Pitt-Pulford (Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre; Emmerdale, ITV) as Poppy and Lauryn Redding (Bloody Elle, Rebel Productions/Royal Exchange) as Nikki.
Returning to reprise their roles are, Samuel Jordan (Masters of the Air, Apple TV; Sex Education, Netflix) as Jimmy, Baker Mukasa (The Comedy of Errors, Royal Shakespeare Company; Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, Stage Entertainment) as George, Alastair Natkiel (Line of Duty, BBC; Strangers on a Train, Barbara Broccoli) as Marcus and Rachael Wooding (Pretty Woman: The Musical, Ambassador Theatre Group Productions; We Will Rock You, Queen Theatrical Productions/Phil McIntyre/Tribeca Theatrical Productions) as Rose. Further casting will be announced.
Standing at the Sky's Edge is currently nominated for ‘Best Musical' at the 2023 Evening Standard Theatre Awards. It won ‘Best New Musical' at the 2023 Olivier Awards earlier in the year with Sheffield singer-songwriter, Richard Hawley and Tom Deering also winning ‘Best Original Score and New Orchestrations'. Previously it has won the 2020 South Bank Sky Arts Award for Theatre and ‘Best Musical Production' at the UK Theatre Awards in 2019.
Director, Robert Hastie said: “I'm thrilled that many of the company who created Standing at the Sky's Edge in Sheffield and at the National Theatre are continuing to tell this important story in the West End, and equally excited that a brilliant new group of actors are joining the cast to bring new perspectives and fresh takes on Chris's characters and Richard's songs. Getting the casting right is central to any show's success, but with this show it feels particularly crucial. The characters in this show might be fictional, but they represent real people's lives, so the actors who embody these roles need to take pride in telling these beautiful human stories, and I'm confident that this incredible cast will do exactly that.”
Hastie is joined by set and costume designer, Ben Stones; choreographer, Lynne Page; orchestrator and arranger, originating music supervisor, Tom Deering; lighting designer, Mark Henderson; sound designer, Bobby Aitken; wigs, hair and make-up designer, Cynthia De La Rosa and casting director, Stuart Burt CDG.
First commissioned by Sheffield Theatres and Various Productions, Standing at the Sky's Edge had its world premiere at the Crucible Theatre in 2019. Following a hugely successful, sold-out run, it returned to the Crucible Theatre in December 2022, selling out again, before making its London premiere in the National Theatre's Olivier theatre in early 2023 where it continued to sell out and receive standing ovations.
Revealing the history of modern Britain, through the stories of this iconic housing estate, Standing at the Sky's Edge, is a heartfelt exploration of the power of community and what it is we all call home.