The Crucible Theatre at 50: Deborah Paige

The mid-nineties brought change to Sheffield Theatres. Together with reductions in funding, this was a critical time for Deborah Paige, who succeeded Michael Rudman as Artistic Director in 1995. Critics pointed out that the Lyceum Theatre had fared much better with its touring productions and that the Crucible Theatre was the less commercial venue.

While previous directors like Colin George and Peter James fought to get the Crucible established, the tenure of Deborah Paige was more a battle of survival. However, she managed to turn its fortunes around with several successful shows, including My Fair Lady, The Little Mermaid in 1997, and Brassed Off in 1998.

At the end of the decade the Sheffield Telegraph remarked that it was “a remarkable turnaround in fortunes… at the same time that it (had) been earning critical acclaim.”

Deborah Paige started her directing career at the Bristol Old Vic. She went on to work at Theatre Centre London, the Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, and the Soho Theatre, and was then appointed Artistic Director of Salisbury Playhouse.

She left Sheffield Theatres in 2000 to pursue a freelance directing career in opera, theatre, TV, and radio. For her own company, Paigeworks, she produced and directed the premieres of Afterbirth by Dave Flores and Into the Blue by Beverley Hancock at The Arcola Theatre in London.

Paige’s television work includes EastEnders, Casualty, Judge John Deed and Holby City, and for radio she has directed several productions for BBC R4’s Woman’s Hour.

She regularly works in London drama schools and was Head of Recorded Drama at LAMDA between 2009-2011, and Interim Director of Performance at Mountview in 2012.

At RADA, where she is an Associate Teacher, Paige has taught and directed projects and productions for stage and screen.