Arthur Lloyd.co.uk
The Music Hall and Theatre History Site
Dedicated to Arthur Lloyd, 1839 - 1904.

 

The Everyman Theatre, Hope Street, Liverpool

Formerly - The Hope Hall / Hope Hall cinema

Introduction - The Hope Hall and Hope Hall Cinema - The Everyman Theatre - 1970s Rebuild - The Present Theatre

Liverpool Theatres Index

A Google StreetView Image of the Everyman Theatre, Liverpool - Click to Interact

Above - A Google StreetView Image of the Everyman Theatre, Liverpool - Click to Interact

A 1975 photograph of the Everyman Theatre, Liverpool, formerly the Hope Hall building, which would later become the Hope Hall Cinema, and then the Everyman Theatre in 1964 - Courtesy Ros Merkin Courtesy Ros Merkin and the LJMU Archive.The Everyman Theatre is situated on Hope Street in Liverpool, and is today run in conjunction with the Playhouse Theatre in Williamson Square.

The modern Theatre that we know today was opened on Sunday the 2nd of March 2014 but its history stretches back to a much earlier time when a new building called the Hope Hall was first constructed on the site in 1837.

Right - A 1975 photograph of the Everyman Theatre, Liverpool, formerly the Hope Hall building, which would later become the Hope Hall Cinema, and then the Everyman Theatre in 1964 - Courtesy Ros Merkin and the LJMU Archive.

The Hope Hall was originally conceived as a dissenter's chapel, opening in 1837, but by 1853 it had been re-imagined as a Public Hall and Concert Hall, and then 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 with a new apron stage, new seating, and new dressing rooms for its artistes. The Everyman Theatre opened in 1964 and soon became the spawning ground for a great many well known names of today.

The Theatre was closed in 1975 for a complete redesign and modernisation which included replacing the former Chapel's original Facade with a more modern 1970s one, digging down into the auditorium floor to create a more adaptable theatre space, and creating a Bistro beneath the stalls.

The 1977 rebuilt Everyman Theatre, Liverpool - Courtesy Ros Merkin and the LJMU Archive.

Above - The 1977 rebuilt Everyman Theatre, Liverpool - Courtesy Ros Merkin and the LJMU Archive..

A Poster for 'John Paul George Ringo & Bert' by Alan Dossor at the Everyman Theatre in 1975, shortly before the Theatre's closure and reconstruction - Courtesy and the LJMU Archive.The Theatre reopened in September 1977 and over the ensuing years it became a much loved space by artistes and public alike. 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 ensuing years including plays and musicals by new writers and of course the classics too.

Right - A Poster for 'John Paul George Ringo & Bert' by Alan Dossor at the Everyman Theatre in 1975, shortly before the Theatre's closure and reconstruction - Courtesy Ros Merkin and the LJMU Archive.

By the turn of the Century the Theatre had long been appreciated for its intimate and bohemian feel, so when proposals for its demolition and yet another rebuild were announced there was much concern. However, the building had got into a poor state of repair and was in urgent need of refurbishment or rebuilding, so despite some local opposition the Theatre was eventually closed in July 2011 for demolition and a complete rebuild, see details below.

The Present Everyman Theatre

A Google StreetView Image of the Everyman Theatre, Liverpool - Click to Interact. The Image also shows the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral which was opened in 1967.

Above - A Google StreetView Image of the Everyman Theatre, Liverpool - Click to Interact. The Image also shows the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral which was opened in 1967 .

The present 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.

The Everyman Theatre is run in conjunction with the Playhouse Theatre in Williamson Square, and you may like to visit the Playhouse and Everyman Theatres' own website here.

If you have any more information or images for this Theatre you are willing to share please Contact me.

Other Pages that may be of Interest