December 7, 2021

Image credit: The Stage

For Sheffield Theatres’ 50th anniversary, actors will star in three plays at the same time

Actors will be challenged to run between three theatres while attempting to perform in all three at the same time in an ambitious new trilogy of plays. Rock/Paper/Scissors is a trilogy of different but interconnected plays that will be staged simultaneously at Sheffield’s Crucible, Studio, and Lyceum theatres.

The artistic director, Robert Hastie, indicated he was looking for a huge challenge for the complex’s 50th anniversary in 2022.

Unlike most plays, Rock/Paper/Scissors requires actors to run to one of two neighbouring locations between scenes.

On the other hand, the stars will not have to run very far. The Crucible and Studio are located in the same building, and the Lyceum is located just across the street. “A exit from one performance is a direct entrance into another, with only a brief dash between rooms,” says the director. 

Although the cast has not yet been revealed, the director and playwright Chris Bush are working on a plan to ensure that the same actors appear in all three plays.

Three generations of a family will be followed in Rock/Paper/Scissors as they struggle to figure out what to do with an abandoned scissor mill near Pittsburgh.

The rehearsal process is a logistical nightmare in and of itself. “We’ll have to set up our practise rooms such that getting from one to the other takes exactly the same amount of time as getting between the stages,” Hastie added.

The whole plan will come apart if the timing isn’t precise. We’ll have to construct a route [between rehearsal rooms] that is exactly the same length as the distance between the stages, even if that means travelling up and down an extra staircase.

After that, the musical will travel to the National Theatre in London, where it will be performed by three Sheffield generations. Sheffield Theatres’ three auditoria have a combined capacity of 2,500, which is the same as the National’s three venues.