Emmie Newitt

Interview with Samuel Jordan, STANDING AT THE SKY'S EDGE

Want to find out more about the characters behind the multi-award-winning musical Standing at the Sky's Edge? We have an interview with Samuel Jordan to find out more!

samuel jordan standing at the skys edge interviewSamuel Jordan in Standing at the Sky's Edge

This groundbreaking production has captivated audiences with its blend of poignant storytelling and mesmerising performances at the Gillian Lynne Theatre. This musical follows three families who inhabit the same apartment in Sheffield's iconic Park Hill estate over several decades. Join us as we chat with Samuel Jordan and be inspired to book your tickets to see this wonderful musical for yourself!

You play the role of Jimmy in the multi-award-winning musical, Standing at the Sky’s Edge. Can you tell us a little bit about this character..

Jimmy was born in the late 70s, he grew up on Park Hill when it was at its lowest point. Due to lack of funding, the flats fell into disrepair.

Jimmy is a product of Park Hill in its darkest age but also of his two loving, nurturing parents who arrived in Park Hill during its golden age. He’s like a butterfly with a switchblade; a sensitive old soul, a mum’s boy who protects those close to him.

He meets Joy who arrives from war torn Liberia. He makes sure she’s safe and welcome at Park Hill.

Jimmy is ambitious and driven but because of his caring and selfless nature, he always puts others before him, even if it means putting his life on hold.

What gravitated you towards wanting to work on this show in particular?

When I first got the email from my agents saying I had an audition for a musical, I thought, there’s absolutely no chance. The possibility of me singing in front of people!? Absolutely not. But I gave the script a read and before I’d finished it, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.

The story is so real and so full of heart, that I felt like I knew these characters instantly. It’s an incredibly clever piece of writing and one that I knew I would have lots of fun with.

I’d never heard of Richard Hawley before so I went to listen to his music, specifically the ones in the show. I was completely taken aback. Richard’s music is so beautiful, so heartbreaking and honest. If there was ever music that I could relate to and songs that I could sing, these were it. It was the kind of music I grew up with, tried to learn on guitar, tried to write.

I was completely in love with the piece. I put my fears aside and did everything I could with my preparation for the audition to land the role.

Standing at the Sky’s Edge has won the hearts of thousands of audience members since its foundations in Sheffield. Why do you think it resonates with people who come to see it?

Because it’s relatable. All of the themes are universal because they are so personal. We’ve all shared experiences like those in the play, we know those characters, possibly even are those characters. It’s so close to the bone, so real that it’s hard to not relate.

Unless you’re from Sheffield, you’re probably going to go into the show as a blank canvas. Why would you know about a housing estate in the North? But I think, it’s almost better to go in with no knowledge. The audience gets to fully immerse themselves in the lives of those living in Park Hill and watch their journeys unfold.

Park Hill is just a vehicle to help us tell the story of those universal themes; the highs and lows, the loves and losses. The show captures the nature of life in all its messy but beautiful glory.

There may be people who read this and know very little about the show. Can you sum up Standing at the Sky’s Edge in a few sentences..

Set in Sheffield’s Park Hill flats, we follow the lives of 3 generations of residents all trying to find where they belong in this world. What does home mean to them and will they ever find it?

What makes this show a brilliant production to go and see in the West End?

It’s so different to anything else in the West End right now but still has something for everyone. Whether you like musicals or aren’t inclined towards them, I believe you’ll leave having had a great experience.

This isn’t your typical musical and as a piece of theatre, it’s remarkable. The show doesn’t rest on having star power or a story well known, but what it does have is universality. A story about heart, community and hope, and some of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard.

Company of Standing at the Sky’s Edge © Johan Persson

This musical contains songs from the legendary singer-songwriter Richard Hawley, what can you tell us about the type of musical score that runs through the story? Do you have a favourite at all?

The music is the beating heart and the soul of this show. Richard Hawley’s poetic and heart-achingly raw songs have been rearranged by the genius that is Tom Deering. He has found a way to put these songs on stage without taking away from the original track, only emphasising it. The intimate songs become even more intimate, the epics even larger.

Tom’s arrangements are nothing short of spectacular. It’s a gorgeous mix of Folk, Americana, Rock and Soul.

One of my favourite things about being in this show is listening to that band. It’s a real privilege to let that string section break my heart every night. It’s hard to pick a favourite as it changes all of the time. However, for now, I will say that Our Darkness is my favourite. That vocal arrangement is just heavenly.

What has been your favourite memory of working on this show so far?

I have had so many beautiful moments on this show that I will treasure for a lifetime. I couldn’t possibly pick my favourite but will share a couple.

Our first preview at Sheffield Crucible and National Theatre. At the Crucible, it felt incredibly special telling this story to the people of Sheffield. The thunderous roar of applause as we finished the first half is something I’ll never forget. The love and energy they gave us carried us all the way through and onto the run at the National. We didn’t know how it was going to go down. This little show from Sheffield on the Olivier stage.

Again, just like at the Crucible, we finished the first half and the roar of applause shocked us all. I remember running off stage so full of adrenaline. We didn’t know what to do, laugh or cry. I think we did a mixture of both. We couldn’t believe the reception.

Are there any characters in this play which remind you of anyone in your family or community growing up?

I think the beautiful thing about this story is that we have all met every one of these characters and we see ourselves in them too. Even the ones that feel furthest from us, we still share the same struggles, hopes and dreams.

For myself, I relate most to Harry, Rose and Jimmy. Their story, and their way of life is so similar to my own upbringing.

Why should people book tickets to see Standing at the Sky’s Edge?

Because it’s an incredible example of what new British musical theatre can be. Everybody who has come together to make this are at the top of their game. Chris Bush, Richard Hawley, Robert Hastie, Ben Stones, Tom Deering, Bobbie Aitken, the cast old and new. They have all crafted something incredibly special, not just because they are the best at what they do but because they have given it so much heart. They have injected it with all the love and care they could and created something so undeniably special and personal.

Standing at the Skys Edge really is a beautiful show and truly has something for everyone. The only down side to being in it, is that I’ll never get to see it.

Standing at the Sky's Edge Tickets