AS one of Sheffield’s biggest non professional theatre companies, they are very experienced at juggling impressively large budgets.
But as STOS Theatre Company’s regional premiere of fantasy musical hit Shrek The Musical prepares to come to the city’s Lyceum Theatre, the production team are facing their biggest challenge to date.
For with a budget set at an estimated £110,000 – pretty much what you might expect of a show glowing with Hollywood magic – Shrek The Musical is set to be one of the year’s most expensive and extravagant productions.
And along with such flights of fantasy as a fully functioning dragon and a host of special effects that can transform a fairytale princess into a troll, there are some expenses that have taken even STOS Theatre Company treasurer David Streeter by surprise.
“This has to be the first time I’ve ever had to set a four figure nose budget!” he laughs.
“It’s that sort of show of course, with so many different characters to be made up and if they don’t look the way people expect them to look then they will be disappointed.
“This is our most expensive show to date but we want to make it as good as the professional touring production.
“In fact, what we want is for anybody who simply walks in off the street to see the show without many prior knowledge not to be able to tell the difference between the professional version and our version.
“One of the biggest challenges for a company like ours is investing in shows that people want to see.
“In this case people want to see a much-loved animation come to life and that’s why we are spending so much on costumes, sets and production values.”
It’s a philosophy that has worked consistently well, with shows ranging from White Christmas to West Side Story, My Fair Lady to Made in Dagenham – all bearing a hallmark of quality that belies the company’s amateur status.
Shrek The Musical is the stage sensation adapted from the smash hit Hollywood movie animated comedy favourite, a crazy re-boot of some familiar fairy tales with a cool contemporary twist.
And following hugely popular runs on Broadway, in the West End and on tour, the show gets its South Yorkshire amateur premiere courtesy of STOS Theatre Company, running at the Lyceum from November 12 to 16.
Investing so much in a show could been seen as something of a risk for a non-professional company but STOS chairman Phil Brownhill insists that is a risk the company is prepared to take.
“We want to put something on that people cannot recognise as anything else than a professional show,” he says.
“If we could we would take out of our publicity any mention of the word amateur because the word really does put out the wrong message of what people can expect from a company like STOS.
“The only thing that could be described as amateur about a show like Shrek The Musical is that we don’t get paid!”
Shrek The Musical is at the Lyceum from November 12 to 16. For tickets call 0114 249 6000 or visit sheffieldtheatres.co.uk