Standing at the Sky’s Edge | Epsom College
  • Geography

Standing at the Sky’s Edge

On Wednesday evening, Lower Sixth geography and drama students enjoyed an evening of theatre and cuisine in London's theatreland

On Wednesday evening, a group of Lower Sixth geography and drama students enjoyed an evening in London. After visiting Leicester Square and Chinatown – and sampling the epicurean delights therein – students watched Standing at the Sky’s Edge at the Gillian Lynne Theatre. This award-winning musical tells the story of a single flat in Park Hill, a 1960s council estate in Sheffield, weaving together the lives of the three families who lived there across the last six decades.

The first family moved from a tenement building into a newly-built Park Hill, aspiring for a better life amongst the so-called streets in the sky. The second arrived in the 1980s, by which time this utopian vision for the estate had collapsed, the buildings were deteriorating and antisocial behaviour was rife. The third moved into Park Hill in the 2010s, after the estate had been regenerated and the social housing tenants had been evicted. These stories took place in starkly different political, cultural, social and economic contexts, but came together effortlessly through intelligent choreography and a shared focus on preserving hope through fierce hardship.

Music and lyrics by Sheffield-born Richard Hawley were delivered faultlessly by the cast and orchestra, which overlooked the stage from an estate flat in the backdrop, and Chris Bush’s script was as witty as it was moving. The show also covered impressive thematic ground, including the importance of community, the shift away from traditional gender roles, the impacts of industrial decline, and the ethics of estate regeneration and the displacement that follows.

Above all else, the show revealed what it really means to call a place ‘home’ – a physical space, a group of people, a place of permanence amongst upheaval and a feeling of belonging.