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Sheffield Theatres / Pif-Paf / Stage Listings

Pif-Paf are a genre-blending outdoor theatre company based in Sheffield. If you've seen a steampunk bicycle with wings and a front propeller careering around the city centre, the chances are you've been privileged enough to see one of Pif-Paf's creations, the Flycycle, in action. Pif-Paf combine engineering and physical theatre to create phantasmagorical spectacles with feeling and adventure at the heart of their work. Co-founders Eleanor and Pete told me what the Pif-Paf vision is all about.

“The core of Pif-Paf is to take art, adventure, spectacle and a feeling of unison out of shiny boxes and onto the street, to real people who are subsidising it all the time anyway. This scale makes people stop, but also means they can see what on earth is going on. It's funny how it's seen as non-traditional performance, because it couldn't be closer to the roots of human theatre. The seats and the carpets are non-traditional.

“We see real people really connect with the structures and shows we make. They are so tangible in a world that is disempowering a lot of people. We want to make work that an audience could imagine themselves making. If we leave our sets alone for five minutes there are people having a go.

“We aspire to the very best of anarchism - the removal of hierarchy and the empowering of an audience. There are no preconceptions when someone comes to our shows, no rules. We have to earn their time, not the other way around.”

There's no letting up in Pif-Paf's ambitions. Their latest show, Planetary, combines acrobatics, aerial and Russian swing, all set on a brand new contraption, a giant spinning wheel called the Distance Ladder. Planetary is a 24-minute outdoor show for family audiences, in which three unscrupulous characters compete for the crown in a heart-in-mouth power struggle of planetary proportions. For dates and locations, check or visit their Facebook page.

Catherine Dickinson

Photo: Planetary at Unwrapped Festival


Robin Ince
Sat 23 April | Regather Comedy Club | £7
Previous Ince shows have seen him critique terrible second-hand books brought along by the audience, so don’t be surprised to hear witticisms on quantum physics and the nature of existence. Link

Single Spies
26-30 April | Lyceum | £18-26
Alan Bennett's comedy masterpiece follows two members of the Cambridge Five spy ring in the 1950s across the globe, exploring society's fascinating with royalty and Russian spies. Link

A Night From The North
Wed 18 May | Theatre Delicatessen
Previews of five local theatre makers, exploring experimental storytelling (I Love You Will U Marry Me by Sad Siren), sinister clowning (Bardo by the Bare Project), virtual reality (New Template by Epiphany VR), masculinity (Alphabet by Joe Bunce) and old age (Beam by Heather Morgan). Tickets for full shows at

Flowers For Mrs Harris
Wed 18 May - Sat 4 June | Crucible | £21.50-24
Based on the novel by Paul Gallico and adapted for the stage by Richard Taylor and Rachel Wagstaff, this musical follows a house cleaner on a transformative journey to Paris. World premiere. Link

Going Viral
Tue 24 May | Studio Theatre | £12.50
This playful one-man "performance lecture" by Daniel Bye about empathy and infection was a hit in Edinburgh last year. Link


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