The Everyman Theatre, Hope Street, Liverpool
Formerly - The Hope Hall / Hope Hall cinema
Above - A Google StreetView Image of the Everyman Theatre, Liverpool - Click to Interact
The Everyman Theatre is situated on Hope Street, Liverpool and originally opened in 1964, although the present Theatre opened in 2014. The Theatre began life as a building which incorporated part of an older dissenter's chapel called Hope Hall, which was built in 1837. The Chapel had become a Public Hall and Concert Hall in 1853, and in 1912 it was converted into a Cinema known as the Hope Hall Cinema. The Cinema's situation on Hope Street, and its friendly and bohemian environment, meant that it gradually took on another role too, and became an unofficial meeting place for artists, musicians, poets, actors and the like, who became known in the area as 'The Liverpool Scene'. This group of artists eventually took on the task of converting the building into a Theatre and their plans were realised when they opened the Everyman Theatre in 1964 which soon became the spawning ground of a great many well known names of today.
The Theatre was reconstructed in 1975 and carried on with its success and achievements into the the next century, it was well known for showcasing the works of new playwrights such as Alan Bleasdale and Willy Russell, and put on all manor of productions over the years including plays and musicals by new writers and of course the classics too. The Theatre was always loved by its artistes and the public for its intimate and bohemian feel so when proposals for its demolition and rebuilding were announced there was much concern. However, the building was in a poor state of repair and in urgent need of refurbishment or rebuilding and despite some local opposition the Theatre finally closed in July 2011 for a complete rebuild.
The new Everyman Theatre was designed by the architects Haworth Tompkins and cost some £27 million to construct, it was funded by Arts Council England and the European Regional Development Fund. The old Theatre was taken down, brick by brick, so that the new Theatre could incorporate them back into its structure. The Theatre's new facade features 105 punched aluminium panels portraying life sized images of local Liverpool residents. Thousands of people queued to have their pictures taken during this project and many now have digital versions of themselves etched onto the Theatre's metal sun shades.
The new Everyman Theatre can accommodate 400 people in its thrust staged auditorium and has a new Bistro in the basement to replace the former Theatre's much loved meeting place. It also has much improved technical facilities, rehearsal spaces, production workshops, and spacious foyers and bars on three floors.
The Everyman Theatre reopened on Sunday the 2nd of March 2014 with a 'Housewarming'. This followed a Latern Parade entitled 'Lights Up' which took place the previous day, setting out from the Liverpool Playhouse, which is run in conjunction with the Everyman, and winding up at the new Theatre, where pyrotechnic displays and fireworks celebrated the switching on of the Everyman Theatre's new red neon sign.
The first performance at the new Everyman Theatre was on the 8th of March 2014, and was a production of 'Twelfth Night', with Matthew Kelly as Sir Toby Belch and Nick Woodeson as Malvolio, both of whom began their careers at the old Everyman Theatre in the 1970s.
In October 2014 the Everyman won the Riba Stirling Prize
for best new building of the year, beating the five other contenders;
London's Shard, the new Library of Birmingham,
the Manchester School of
Art, the London Aquatics Centre, and the LSE Student Centre. Stephen
Hodder, the president of Riba, called the new Everyman Theatre an "exceptional
new building" and a "ground breaking example of how to build
a daring bold and highly sustainable large public building in a historic
city centre... The success of this exceptional new building lies in
the architect's close involvement with the local community throughout
the project." - Stephen Hodder. An interesting interactive
video on the Everyman Theatre and its winning of the Riba Stirling Prize
can be found on the BBC's website here.
If you have any more information or images for this Theatre you are willing to share please Contact me.
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