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Brintons archive helps transform The Lyceum Theatre

4th December 2014

Built in 1879 to a traditional proscenium arch design, the Lyceum is the only surviving theatre outside London designed by the famous theatre architect W.G.R. Sprague and the last example of an Edwardian auditorium in Sheffield. The grade II Listed theatre has 1068 seats and is part of the Sheffield Theatres complex with the neighbouring Crucible Theatre and the Crucible Studio.

The building has changed ownership many times over the years, being used variously as a rock concert venue and a bingo hall. By the 1980s, the interior was in a state of disrepair. Two local businessmen bought the theatre in 1985, with financial support from Sheffield City Council, and between 1988 and 1990 the Lyceum was completely restored at a cost of £12 million. The theatre now serves as a venue for touring West End productions and operas as well as locally produced shows. 

The Theatre closed its doors in July 2014 to undergo a £1.9 million refurbishment, thanks to funding from Arts Council England, Sheffield City Council, several trusts and foundations, the local business community and theatre audiences. Over the ten-week project, the Lyceum was transformed, creating a more comfortable experience for audiences and significantly improving the technical and operational equipment.

Brintons worked with John Bates, Sheffield Theatres Trust, Buildings Manager and Johnson Wright ltd to identify a carpet that would marry both the original part of the building with the newer extension. A design from Brintons archive was chosen and the inspiration was taken from the original artwork of Japanese Shin Bijutsukai dating back to 1896. Brintons Designer Jane Bradley-Bain then recoloured the archive design using a warm and tonal colour palette, which complemented the new interior colour scheme at the theatre.

Image top right: (l to r) Brintons Archivist Yvonne Smith, Designer Jane Bradley-Bain with the original design papers

Image second right: The new carpet in situ at the theatre.

Image third right: Theatre carpet, insert Japanese design paper from Brintons archive

Image bottom right: (l to r) Brian Johnson, Managing Director Johnson Wright Flooring, Hannah Morris, Brintons Commercial Business Manager, John Bates, Sheffield Theatres Trust - Buildings Manager

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