Aside from the snazziest of cutlery and the steepest of hills, Sheffield is known across the country for its thriving creative arts scene. With a vast array of dance, theatre, exhibitions and more right on your doorstep, there’s no better way to counter the excesses of Freshers’ Week than by immersing yourself in the city’s more creative side. Here’s our pick of ten ways to enjoy arts in Sheffield:
1) Make the most of the “Live for 5” scheme
Seeing great theatre doesn’t have to break your student budget. Sheffield Theatres, who are responsible for the Crucible, the Studio and the Lyceum, offer £5 tickets to under-25s for the majority of their productions. To take advantage of the scheme, create an account at www. sheffieldtheatres.co.uk. Live for 5 tickets go on sale on the first Friday of each month, so plan ahead to get your fix of top notch theatre.
2) Volunteer at a festival
Gain some new skills and spice up your CV by volunteering at one of Sheffield’s many cultural festivals. As well as being a great way to make new friends from around the city, volunteers often get free tickets. The Off the Shelf literary festival is coming up in October, while Migration Matters and the world-famous Doc Fest will also be seeking volunteers later in the year. Look out for opportunities with university events such as Festival of the Mind and the Festival of Ideas as well.
3) Visit a Sheffield gallery or museum
A great way to pass the time on a rainy (or hungover) afternoon, Sheffield boasts an impressive range of exhibition centres to suit every interest. Most are free to enter, and with constantly changing collections, they can be enjoyed time and time again. Forge favourites include the Millennium Gallery in the city centre’s stunning Winter Gardens, and the National Emergency Services Museum, which is the largest of its kind in the world. Even the university’s own Western Bank Library hosts exhibitions through the year, providing the perfect break from revision.
4) Join a university band or choir
It’s time to put those year five violin lessons to good use – university is a great place to get involved in music. There are countless performance groups to choose from, ranging from casual collectives to serious competition bands. Check out the Music Players Society for performance groups in lots of different styles, and even an annual music tour! If you prefer to sing, the Gospel Choir and Singers’ Society are always looking to welcome new members.
5) Go to a concert
You can’t share a home with the Arctic Monkeys without exploring Sheffield’s diverse music scene. Try City Hall for world-class classical concerts, or Sheffield Arena for pop, rock and more. Nightclubs like the Leadmill and Plug host a range of artists, as do plenty of local pubs, so get exploring!
6) Audition for a show
You don’t need to stick to the audience to enjoy Sheffield’s theatre scene – why not get involved? SUTCo (Sheffield University Theatre Company) and SUPAS (Sheffield University Performing Arts Society) put on productions throughout the year, and they welcome auditions from seasoned thespians and complete novices alike. You can even try your hand at directing or tech management if acting isn’t your cup of tea. The next auditions for SUTCo will be held from Thursday 21 September; check out their Facebook page for all the details.
7) Sign up for a class
If you’re feeling adventurous, why not break out of the university bubble and pick up a craft? A wide variety of arts groups meet regularly around the city, but be warned: classes can be pricey so shop around. Kelham Island Arts Collective offers a student discount for life drawing workshops, while Art House runs a wide variety of specialist courses covering painting, printing and more.
8) Visit some alternative theatre venues
Beyond the big stages in Tudor Square, there are many productions taking place off the beaten track. Theatre Delicatessen, a great place to catch quirky and provocative performances, is due to reopen later this year. Be sure to check out the Lantern Theatre too; as Sheffield’s oldest theatrical venue, the building itself is a sight worth seeing.
9) Join a creative society
Everyone knows that joining a club or society is a great way to meet new people and get involved in university life, but why not take up a crafty new hobby at the same time? There are hundreds of groups to choose from, so check out the Give it a Go programme if you’re not sure where to start.
10) Write for Forge Press Arts!
Unleash your inner theatre critic and join the best team of them all! We’ll be giving out features, interviews and press tickets for reviews throughout the year, and we’d love for you to get involved. Come and meet us at the Activities fair, and join Forge Media Contributors 17/18 on Facebook for all the latest updates.