Dean Clough.

Theatre at Dean Clough
A presentation at the Viaduct Theatre A presentation at the Viaduct Theatre
A presentation at the Viaduct Theatre

Theatre at Dean Clough

The mills that make up the Dean Clough site were located around a brook that was originally spanned by a stone-built viaduct. D-mill and E-mill were subsequently constructed on either side of this viaduct - creating a 'cellar space' beneath them. The area beneath E-mill was especially cavernous, and is now used as an atmospheric, 300-seat auditorium.

The Viaduct Theatre has been used for chamber music concerts, operatic performances, alternative rock gigs, television programmes, conferences and even gigantic installations.

While the Viaduct Theatre can operate as a receiving house for touring productions, its major successes have tended to be one-off projects that demand either lengthy rehearsal times or elaborate set conversion. A key instance was in 1997, when the People's Art Theatre of Sichuan created the prow of a life-sized ferry in order to stage 'A Tale of Three Gorges'. Dean Clough also premiered The Shed's uniquely successful blend of contemporary jazz, poetry and knitting, 'Hat', which has since toured the UK and Ireland.

Northern Broadsides is a nationally-renowned theatre company that is not only based at Dean Clough, but which uses the Viaduct Theatre as its 'home base'. The company's identity was initially created around forthright productions of Shakespeare. These continue to be celebrated for their use of 'the Northern voice' as defined by Artistic Director Barrie Rutter.

Northern Broadsides' loyal audience has supported the company's evolution from Shakespeare, into modern adaptations of classic texts (by the likes of Tony Harrison and Blake Morrison), and more recently into premieres of contemporary work by both upcoming writers and established playwrights such as Alan Plater.

Barrie Rutter in 'The Cracked Pot'
Barrie Rutter in 'The Cracked Pot'

The company regularly sells out its performances at the theatre and is often reviewed in the national press. Major successes have included:

'Samson Agonistes' (1998) - one of only two times that Milton's masque received a professional performance in the 20th Century.

'Alcestis' (2000) - the last play to be written by the poet laureate, Ted Hughes, who asked that Barrie Rutter perform the premiere in Calderdale after his death.

'Wars of the Roses' (2006) - a long-cherished project by Northern Broadsides that fused Shakespeare's Henry IV (pts 1+2), Edward II and Richard III.
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IOU Theatre's 'Cure'
IOU Theatre's 'Cure'

IOU Theatre is another company based at Dean Clough. It has used the Viaduct Theatre (converting it into a hybrid between a fairground and a hospital for 'Cure' in 2000), but more typically IOU works in non-theatrical locations to pursue the unique brand of 'Visual Theatre' for which it is renowned across Europe. IOU is located in the capacious ground floor of E-Mill, where it has an ongoing programme of exhibitions and conference events.
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Sheffield comedian Tom Wrigglesworth
In 2006 Dean Clough began a series of comedy nights in the Viaduct Café that feature comedians from the national circuit. These usually take place on mid-month Fridays.

Details of our current season at Dean Clough are available in the What's On section of this website. The box office number is (01422) 255266.

If you are interested in using Dean Clough as venue for your performance, click here.

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