Richard Hawley co-writes Park Hill flats musical for Sheffield

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Standing at the Sky’s Edge is Hawley’s first move into musical theatre

Sheffield musician Richard Hawley is to write part of a musical set in the city’s Park Hill flats.

Standing at the Sky’s Edge, named after one of Hawley’s albums, is his first move into musical theatre.

Hawley’s songs will help tell the story of the once-notorious housing estate through the lives of three families.

Opening in 1961 as one of the most ambitious inner-city housing schemes of its time, Park Hill flats are Europe’s largest listed structure.

In subsequent years, the flats became notorious for crime, drugs and violence.

While some have been given a multi-million pound facelift, other parts remain derelict and bleak.

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Urban Splash has carried out a multi-million pound multi-coloured facelift of parts of the building

Sheffield-born playwright Chris Bush wrote the play, which is planned to be performed at the Crucible theatre.

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Dan Bates, chief executive of Sheffield Theatres, said the company was “over the moon” about the musical, and there was a “buzz across the whole city”.

Hawley said: “My first involvement in the project was five years ago when we were on tour in Lisbon. They came to me and said they’d like to use my music to make a musical.”

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Other parts of the estate remain derelict and bleak

He said his band members in the dressing room reacted with “gales of laughter”.

“It was such a daft idea, I thought ‘let’s just try it and see what happens’,” Hawley continued.

The musician said he was “not much of a theatre person” but enjoyed working on the project so much, he thought “this is going to work”.

“It’s not about specifically Park Hill, there’s a backdrop to the story, three separate time zones and family’s lives. Park Hill is like an aperture through which you see a progression of post-war 20th and 21st Century history.”

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Park Hill flats opened in 1961, with high-rise decks wide enough for milk floats to drive down