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Everyman Theatre

Everyman Theatre

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The Everyman Theatre stands at the north end of Hope Street
Hope Street, Liverpool
Hope Street, Liverpool, England stretches from Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral past Liverpool Cathedral to Upper Parliament Street. It contains several restaurants, hotels and bars. The road runs parallel to Rodney Street...

, Liverpool
Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough of Merseyside, England, along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. It was founded as a borough in 1207 and was granted city status in 1880...

, Merseyside
Merseyside is a metropolitan county in North West England, with a population of 1,365,900. It encompasses the metropolitan area centred on both banks of the lower reaches of the Mersey Estuary, and comprises five metropolitan boroughs: Knowsley, St Helens, Sefton, Wirral, and the city of Liverpool...

, England. Established in 1964 in a former cinema, it encouraged local talent and played a part in the development of new artistes and writers. The theatre was rebuilt between 1975 and 1977, and was closed again for complete rebuilding in 2011. It is planned to re-open the new theatre in 2013.


The building originates from Hope Hall, a dissenters'
English Dissenters
English Dissenters were Christians who separated from the Church of England in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.They originally agitated for a wide reaching Protestant Reformation of the Established Church, and triumphed briefly under Oliver Cromwell....

 chapel built in 1837. In 1841 it became a church dedicated
Dedication is the act of consecrating an altar, temple, church or other sacred building. It also refers to the inscription of books or other artifacts when these are specifically addressed or presented to a particular person. This practice, which once was used to gain the patronage and support of...

 to Saint John the Baptist
John the Baptist
John the Baptist was an itinerant preacher and a major religious figure mentioned in the Canonical gospels. He is described in the Gospel of Luke as a relative of Jesus, who led a movement of baptism at the Jordan River...

. This in turn was converted into a public concert hall in 1853. In 1912 the hall was turned into Hope Hall Cinema, which continued serving this purpose until it closed in 1963. Prior to its closure the hall had become a meeting place for local artists, poets, folk musicians, and sculptors, including Arthur Dooley
Arthur Dooley
Arthur Dooley was a British artist and sculptor. He was born in the city of Liverpool, Dooley commenced employment as a welder at Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead, he also worked at the Dunlop factory in Speke, before his ambition took him to work as a cleaner at St...

, Roger McGough
Roger McGough
Roger Joseph McGough CBE is a well-known English performance poet. He presents the BBC Radio 4 programme Poetry Please and records voice-overs for commercials, as well as performing his own poetry regularly...

, and Adrian Henri
Adrian Henri
Adrian Henri was a British poet and painter best remembered as the founder of poetry-rock group The Liverpool Scene and as one of three poets in the best-selling anthology The Mersey Sound, along with Brian Patten and Roger McGough. The trio of Liverpool poets came to prominence in that city's...

, forming what became known as the Liverpool Scene. This group decided that the building would be suitable for use as a theatre and in September 1964 the Everyman Theatre was opened by Martin Jenkins, Pete James and Terry Hands
Terry Hands
Terence David Hands is an English theatre director. He ran the Royal Shakespeare Company for 20 years during one of its most successful periods.-Early years:...


In 1975 the theatre closed and was rebuilt, its work being continued as a touring company until it re-opened in September 1977. During the 1970s and the 1980s works of Liverpool playwrights, including Willy Russell and Alan Bleasdale
Alan Bleasdale
Alan Bleasdale is an English television dramatist, best known for writing several social realist drama serials based on the lives of ordinary people.The Bleasdales live in prescot,liverpool,wales and london.-Early life:Bleasdale is an only child; his father worked in a food factory and his mother...

, received debuts in the theatre: these included Shirley Valentine
Shirley Valentine
Shirley Valentine is a one-character play by Willy Russell. Taking the form of a monologue by a middle-aged, working class Liverpool housewife, it focuses on her life before and after a transforming holiday abroad.-Plot:...

and John, Paul, George, Ringo … and Bert
John, Paul, George, Ringo … and Bert
John, Paul, George, Ringo...& Bert is a 1974 musical by Willy Russell based on the story of The Beatles. It premiered at the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool in May 1974 where it ran for eight weeks and later moved to the Lyric Theatre in London in August 1974, where it ran for a year and was later...

. In addition to plays, the theatre has produced musicals, concerts, and an annual rock-n-roll panto each Christmas. During its time the theatre has been involved with the careers of Julie Walters
Julie Walters
Julie Walters, CBE is an English actress and novelist. She came to international prominence in 1983 for Educating Rita, performing in the title role opposite Michael Caine. It was a role she had created on the West End stage and it won her BAFTA and Golden Globe awards for Best Actress...

, Bernard Hill
Bernard Hill
Bernard Hill is a British actor of film, stage and television. In a career spanning thirty years, he is best known for playing Yosser Hughes, the troubled 'hard man' whose life is falling apart in Alan Bleasdale's groundbreaking 1980s TV drama, Boys from the Blackstuff...

, Jonathan Pryce
Jonathan Pryce
Jonathan Pryce, CBE is a Welsh stage and film actor and singer. After studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and meeting his longtime partner English actress Kate Fahy in 1974, he began his career as a stage actor in the 1970s...

, Pete Postlethwaite
Pete Postlethwaite
Peter William "Pete" Postlethwaite, OBE, was an English stage, film and television actor.After minor television appearances including in The Professionals, Postlethwaite's first success came with the film Distant Voices, Still Lives in 1988. He played a mysterious lawyer, Mr...

, Antony Sher
Antony Sher
Sir Antony Sher, KBE is a double Olivier Award winning South African-born British actor, writer, theatre director and painter.- Early years :...

, Bill Nighy
Bill Nighy
William Francis "Bill" Nighy is an English actor and comedian. He worked in theatre and television before his first cinema role in 1981, and made his name in television with The Men's Room in 1991, in which he played the womanizer Prof...

, Barbara Dickson
Barbara Dickson
Barbara Ruth Dickson, OBE is a Scottish singer whose hits include "I Know Him So Well" and "January February"...

, Matthew Kelly
Matthew Kelly
Matthew Kelly is an English television presenter and Olivier-award winning actor. Having been trained as a theatre actor, he first came to public prominence as a television presenter of ITV light entertainment shows such as You Bet! and Stars in Their Eyes...

, and Cathy Tyson
Cathy Tyson
Catherine "Cathy" Tyson is an English stage, film and television actress.-Early life:The daughter of a Trinidadian barrister father and an English social worker mother, Tyson and her family moved to Liverpool when she was approximately two years old.-Career:Tyson attended the Everyman Youth...


The theatre is managed together with Liverpool Playhouse
Liverpool Playhouse
The Liverpool Playhouse is a theatre in Williamson Square in the city of Liverpool, Merseyside, England. It originated in 1866 as a music hall, and in 1911 developed into a repertory theatre. As such it nurtured the early careers of many actors and actresses, some of which went on to achieve...

 by Liverpool City Council
Liverpool City Council
Liverpool City Council is the governing body for the city of Liverpool in Merseyside, England. It consists of 90 councillors, three for each of the city's 30 wards. The council is currently controlled by the Labour Party and is led by Joe Anderson.-Domain:...

. Since 2004 The two theatres have worked to an integrated programme run by their artistic director and their executive director. Together they are registered as a charity known as Liverpool and Merseyside Theatres Trust Limited.

Closure and rebuilding

In July 2011 the theatre closed to be completely rebuilt. The last major production was Macbeth
The Tragedy of Macbeth is a play by William Shakespeare about a regicide and its aftermath. It is Shakespeare's shortest tragedy and is believed to have been written sometime between 1603 and 1607...

, starring David Morrissey
David Morrissey
David Mark Morrissey is an English actor and director. Morrissey grew up in the Kensington and Knotty Ash areas of Liverpool, and learned to act at the city's Everyman Youth Theatre. At the age of 18, he was cast in the television series One Summer , which won him recognition throughout the country...

 and Jemma Redgrave
Jemma Redgrave
Jemma Redgrave is a fourth-generation English actress of the Redgrave family.-Early life/family:Born in London as Jemima Rebecca Redgrave, she is the daughter of the late actor Corin Redgrave and his first wife, the late Deirdre Hamilton-Hill, a former fashion model. They divorced when Jemma was...

, which closed on 11 June. This was followed by performances from Roger McGough and Brian Patten
Brian Patten
-Background:Born near Liverpool's docks, he attended Sefton Park School in the Smithdown Road area of Liverpool, where he was noted for his essays and greatly encouraged in his work by Harry Sutcliffe his form teacher. He left school at fifteen and began work for The Bootle Times writing a column...

, and by the local pop band Deaf School
Deaf School
Deaf School are an English rock band, formed in the mid 1970s and hailing from Liverpool. Their style is somewhere in between pub rock, punk, glam rock and art rock. They originally disbanded after their third album but their influence lived on...

. The final closure event took place on 2 July. From 28 July contents of the theatre, including seats and benches from the theatre, and pillars from the original Hope Hall, were available for purchase by auction. The redevelopment will cost £28 million, of which £16.8 million will be provided by Arts Council England
Arts Council England
Arts Council England was formed in 1994 when the Arts Council of Great Britain was divided into three separate bodies for England, Scotland and Wales. It is a non-departmental public body of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport...

, with £5.9 million from the European Regional Development Fund
European Regional Development Fund
The European Regional Development Fund is a fund allocated by the European Union.-History:During the 1960s, the European Commission occasionally tried to establish a regional fund. Only Italy ever supported this, however, and nothing came of it. Britain made it an issue for their accession in...

. It is planned to re-open the theatre in 2013.


In 1970 Paddy Byrne and Dave Scott established a restaurant in the basement of the theatre known as the Liverpool Everyman Bistro, which became a popular dining venue in the city. There are plans to create a similar restaurant to be associated with the new theatre.

External links