everyman news issue 1

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The first issue of Everyman News, to keep you up to date with the redevelopment of Liverpool’s Everyman theatre.


  • B i gP l ans EVERYMAN NEWS ISSUE 01

    JUNE 2011


    The Essential IngredientsOver the last few years weve been listening to our audiences, our staff and the actors, writers, directors and designers of the past, present and future to find out what makes the Everyman so special. Developed and designed by prominent theatre architects Haworth Tompkins, the building will provide new incarnations of the Everymans dynamic and inclusive 400-seat thrust stage auditorium, legendary basement Bistro and iconic Everyman sign. All images by Haworth Tompkins

    OUr architects: HAWORTH TOMPKINSHaworth Tompkins architects produce a wide range of bespoke buildings for specialist clients in the public and private sectors, manufacturing industry and the arts. Founded in 1991, by Graham Haworth and Steve Tompkins, the practice has a growing international reputation for their design work; in 2007 they were shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize; in 2008 they were awarded an International Architecture Award by the Chicago Athenaeum and in 2010 they won three RIBA design awards. Theatre projects include Londons Royal Court and Young Vic theatres and the forthcoming 100m remodelling of the National Theatre; the Egg childrens theatre in Bath, and Snape Maltings recital hall. They previously worked in Liverpool on the award-winning Building Seven in Liverpool One. The Everyman team: Director Steve Tompkins and Associate Roger Watts have designed all the practices theatre projects, and project architects Will Mesher and Katy Marks (who comes from Liverpool) are also experienced theatre designers.


    Welcoming and AccessibleFront of House areas will feature an open and welcoming street presence, a new pavement caf, a first floor theatre bar with balcony over Hope Street, and of course a new incarnation of the basement Bistro. There will be excellent access throughout the whole building for disabled people and we aim to attract new and diverse audiences to ensure this will be an Everyman for everyone.

    Greener and SustainableThe new theatre will be lean and green, designed to reduce carbon consumption and leave the lightest possible footprint on our planet. Low energy strategies including plenty of natural light, natural ventilation throughout the building and rainwater harvesting.

    How Will it Look?The building will be constructed of red brick with a new glass frontage. At first floor level there will be a full-length balcony and a new 21st century version of the current iconic sign. Above this will be a beautiful faade comprising 105 life-sized, abstracted portraits of Liverpool people transferred onto cut aluminum shutters, a physical representation of the community to which the Everyman has always belonged.

    More SpaceWe have bought back the theatre and acquired the site next door, giving us space to accommodate vital facilities the Everyman currently lacks, many of which will also serve the Playhouse. These will include a Youth and Community space for the theatres vast and growing work with education, youth and community groups; rehearsal space, workshops and offices for production staff; and a hub for writers to develop their work.

    A New Everyman for EveryoneThe Everyman Theatre on Hope Street opened in 1964 and has been home to some of the most inspiring, urgent, enjoyable and socially aware theatre of the last five decades. The building itself has changed many times; from chapel to cinema to theatre space. It once had a circle, a space for youth theatre and for building sets; now it is just what you see and despite our best efforts its in a bad state of repair. Now we are poised to build a new Everyman a vibrant hub fit for this creative and dynamic city.


    Its a pragmatic view; an obvious fact. But anyone who has ever cared for the place, including Morrissey, knows theres a bit more to it than that.

    As the Everyman prepares for its last production before its complete redevelopment, all eyes are on one actor, returning to his alma mater in one of theatres most iconic, historic, and demanding roles: Macbeth. Its a beautiful complement to the latest chapter in the extraordinary history of a theatre where remarkable journeys have been made, that has launched stellar careers, and is beloved by its loyal audience.

    David Morrissey knows that because all those things apply to him, too. You

    might know the Kensington-born actor from his roles in such iconic TV dramas as State of Play and Blackpool; from roles including Gordon Brown in The Deal, Sky TVs DI Tom Thorne, or The Other Doctor in the 2008 Christmas special of Dr Who. Then theres Hollywood films like Nowhere Boy, The Other Boleyn Girl and Basic Instinct 2, and the work of his charity CAST, (the Creative Arts Schools Trust), that runs drama workshops in deprived areas of the world.

    Yet it might never have happened had he not walked through the doors of the Everyman Youth Theatre at the start of the 1980s. Alongside contemporaries including Ian Hart (the pair have been friends since they were five), Cathy Tyson and Paul McGann, the youth theatre opened up a whole new world. Its director at the time was Roger Hill.

    He was the oldest punk in town and had an amazing mix of an anarchic view of the world and a massive discipline, recalls Morrissey. His approach really was about

    having fun, but the structure was there.The work of Everyman stalwarts like maverick director Ken Campbell left the budding actors amazed, and alive to the possibilities of theatre; old hands passing through, including Jim Broadbent, Pete Postlethwaite, Anton Lesser and John Sessions were on hand to offer support and advice about breaking into the business.

    The youth theatre was two nights a week, but it seemed 24/7 to me, Morrissey says.

    When we werent rehearsing we were in the Bistro. It was invaluable, there was always something going on and we would just gravitate to this part of town all the time.

    Morrisseys break came when he secured the lead role in Willy Russells coming-of-age series One Summer in 1983, a part he is still fondly remembered for. With no doubt in his mind what he wanted to do, he then went on to RADA.

    It has been documented how moving to London was a wrench for the young actor. He was homesick, and missed the camaraderie of Liverpool, and the Everyman terribly.

    I felt very safe here, he says. It was a creative place and we were doing edgy stuff where we were given license to make a noise, and it was great.

    Yet in time, it was the making of him, and he went on to become one of the UKs most respected acting talents. Now based in the capital, he lives with his wife Esther Freud and their three children. He returned to his home city in 2008 to direct his own film, Dont Worry About Me, a romance described as a love letter to Liverpool. It was then he met Everyman Artistic Director Gemma Bodinetz, and the seeds of returning to the theatre were planted. Finally, three years later, Macbeth is the result.

    And with the theatre set to close on July 2 allowing the long-awaited redevelopment of the Everyman to finally begin, what would be a bold production at the best of times is given an added intensity.

    This place is just bricks and mortar, but people come through it not just the rich and famous but a lot of other people who have put blood, sweat and tears into it, and people feel very strongly about this theatre, Morrissey says.

    Theres a wonderful story to this place for me personally. The Everyman has been such a part of my life.

    Stephanie Beacham, Barbara Dickson, Trevor Eve, Bernard Hill, Matthew Kelly, David Morrissey, Bill Nighy, Pete Postlethwaite, Jonathan Pryce, Antony Sher, Alison Steadman, Cathy Tyson and Julie Walters are just a few of the now-celebrated actors who found their courage and their voice here. Alan Bleasdale and Willy Russell developed their craft here. The poets Roger McGough, Adrian Henri, Adrian Mitchell and Brian Patten were practically resident, especially in the Bistro. And the Everyman youth theatre launched another generation of talent including Ian Hart, Cathy Tyson and of course David Morrissey.

    Since 2004 the Everyman has produced 19 world premires, 17 by Liverpool writers. Many of these writers are already seeing their work reaching a wider platform, nationally and internationally, and 5 of these productions have gone on to find audiences and acclaim in London and around the country.

    We work constantly to nurture, support and provoke new talent, offering creative development combined with pragmatic advice in making and sustaining a career. For writers this includes an ongoing programme of new commissions; a Young Writers Programme; a Writers on Attachment scheme and the annual Everyword festival of new work.

    This year, our youth theatre will evolve into a wider programme: Young Everyman/Playhouse. YEP will expand the number of places available and, as we approach the opening of the new Everyman which will give YEP its own, dedicated space will begin to include training for directors and technicians; a childrens theatre strand, and short training courses for a wide range of young people across Merseyside.

    By fostering new talent, developing new work and championing creative courage, we want to make sure that the new Everyman comes alive with new work, new energy and new ideas.

    Theres a wonderful story tothis place for me personally.The Everyman has been such a part of my LIFE

    David Morrissey is MacbethEveryman, 6 May to 11 June

    Article by Vicky Anderson

    Photography by Helen Warner


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