Crucible Alive

crucible logoYear  |  2019 
  |  The Crucible, Sheffield
Client  |  Sheffield Theatres
Client Contacts | Emily Hutchinson & Beverly Nunn

Plot Line Synopsis 

The Crucible was a product of rampant post-war construction and the adventurous spirit that gave rise to new styles of architecture which were previously inconceivable. The theatre evolved into a landmark with its signature brutalist style and then newly envisioned thrust stage, making it one of the most influential and distinguished examples of its period, justifying its listed status. 

When we met the clients for the first time, we were asked to provide recommendations towards improving the foyer and transforming it into a “wow” space. Faced with limitations of decreasing relevance and ageing clientele, they were struggling to define the Crucible experience.

We asked ourselves how do you make a “wow” space?

The annual Fun Palaces event which happened in the first weekend of the project provided an outlook into the possibilities within the foyer and gave us an opportunity to observe the foyer space filled and being used for assorted events. We had to bring the enthusiasm of the fun palace weekend back into the foyer.

At the core of the interventions were the ideas of bringing the theatre out into the city and bringing the city into the theatre, while at the same time celebrating performance. The success of a theatre is mutually reliant on the quality of their performance and their viewership. There are two approaches to redefining a public space- make it more visually appealing and to make it a more active communal space.

Although the brief was to rejuvenate the Crucible, our focus had to extend beyond; cutting through the traditional boundaries of a site. We had to make the Crucible a topic of casual discussions and create activities that would resonate with a younger population.

The Big Reveal

The design gave rise to outputs like The Breakaway aimed at bringing the theatre out into the city. The live testing of the projector bombings gave us an actual outlook into the possibilities and risks of using projectors to add dynamism to a building without any physical alterations.

Long term interventions such as the City Carpet and Summer Festival were designed to connect with a generation engrossed in their digital world. The summer festival was the idea of a sustainable temporary stage to be set up in Tudor square. This was based on our inference that the fate of the Crucible and Tudor square are tied.

The six weeks culminated with the handing over of the project box- subdividing our vision into short term, medium-term and long term proposals outlining the future vision and finally a presentation in dramatic fashion, as a fitting tribute to the theatre.

Follow Us:

Instagram | @cruciblealive

Follow Our Clients:
Instagram | @sheffieldtheatres
Twitter | @crucibletheatre
Youtube | @sheffieldtheatres
Facebook | @shefftheatres


  • Credits.

    School of Architecture.
    Matt Allen
    Judy Zhu
    James Harrington
    Alice Grant
    Jaiwen He
    Will Bellefontaine
    Yongxian Thea He
    Georgie Scott
    Philippe Schneider
    Joe Xavier
    Felicia Wu
    Madihah Azhar
    Cecelia He
    Travis Alan Mills
    Siyuan Alan Jiang
  • Coordination.
    Simon Baker