Robert Hastie
Robert Hastie
© Dan Wooller

Robert Hastie, the new artistic director of Sheffield Theatres, has announced his inaugural season as boss of the three spaces.

Hastie's new season will open with a production of William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, which will be cast with a 50-50 split of men and women and will run in the Crucible. Hastie directed the recent production of Henry V at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre which starred Michelle Terry as Henry V.

Casting for Julius Caesar has not been announced, but Hastie commented:

"I wanted to do a Shakespeare first and this play feels particularly timely, especially with the recent news from America. I had a very happy experience this year with Henry V with Michelle Terry and I have been lucky enough to be around the Donmar while Phyllida [Lloyd] has been doing her groundbreaking work on Shakespeare.

"For me the argument has been made and won for ways in which we have to open up the beautiful plays."

Sam Yates will also make his Sheffield Theatres directing debut in September 2017, when he directs Eugene O'Neill's Desire Under the Elmes in the Crucible Theatre. O'Neill's play was inspired by several Greek tragedies and follows an American family in New England.

In October in the Studio, there will be a new version of Uncle Vanya by legendary director and writer Peter Gill in October. A co-production with Theatre Clwyd, the show will be directed by Tamara Harvey and will be performed in the round. The show arrives in Sheffield following its opening at Theatre Clwyd.

At the end of the year in the Crucible, Hastie will return to direct a new production of The Wizard of Oz as the Christmas musical. It will be the RSC's adaptation of the original story and will run from 7 December.

Following Julius Caesar the Sheffield People's Theatre production of What We Wished For, by Chris Bush will run in the Crucible in July. The show will be directed by Emily Hutchinson and will feature a cast made up of members of the Sheffield People's Theatre. What We Wished For is a mix of fairy tales and modern life which has been commissioned by Sheffield Theatres.

Hastie is due to direct the world premiere of Chris Thompson's new play Of Kith and Kin in the Studio in September. Hastie directed Thompson's debut play Carthage, which ran at the Finborough Theatre in 2014.

Also in the Studio, the winner of the RTST Director Award Scheme Kate Hewitt will direct the already announced regional premiere of Nina Raine's Tribes in June.

Hastie said: "I have been in Sheffield for a few months now and I have been overwhelmed by the warmth of the welcome I've received.

"This is a great city and I feel privileged to take on the artistic leadership of two of its most iconic buildings. Like many people here, I was greatly saddened by the recent death of founding director Colin George, and reminded that his legacy is the pride this city takes in its world class theatres."

As part of the new season, Hastie has also announced that Sheffield Theatres will be removing booking fees from all transactions and there will be 10,000 tickets available at £15 across the season. Tickets will also be made free to all Sheffield-based GCSE and A-Level drama students.