The weekend beginning on 1st March 2014 saw the return of an old friend, Liverpool welcomed back the new Everyman Theatre. And after a £27m rebuild the Theatre looks amazing, not only outside, but inside as well
The new theatre facade
The celebrations began on Saturday 1st March with a parade entitled 'Lights Up', created by Walk the Plank, The Liverpool Lantern Company and Sense of Sound. Hundreds of people began gathering outside both the Playhouse, where the parade began and the Everyman, the destination for the parade, from early evening. Despite it being a cold and sometimes wet night people came out to welcome the Everyman back, and what a welcome it was. The lighting display was amazing topped off (literally) with fireworks on the roof of the new building. The parade made its way through the city from the Playhouse arriving at the Everyman at 7.45pm when the main part of the celebrations began. The Sense of Sound choir, with bands from Anfield Breckfield Community Centre and the Anfield community arts band, took part in the outdoor ceremony. A group of schoolchildren from St Mattews Catholic Primary School entertained the crowd waiting for the opening.
On Sunday 2nd March 2014 the Theatre opened its doors to the public for a 'housewarming' event which gave the people of the city an opportunity to see inside the Everyman and look at the culmination of a three year rebuild. Dominic Beaumont, the Communications and Media Officer of the Everyman theatre filled me in on all that was new at the Everyman and gave me a quick tour prior to handing me over to Andrew Reece who accompanied me on a full tour of the building. I have written an article for the History Press and would like to thank Dominic and his team for their co-operation. The one thing that struck me immediately was how lived in the building felt although it is brand new. This is due in part to the large amount of recycled brick both from the old theatre and reclaimed brick from the city, that has been used. But its not just the fabric of the build, it's the fact that they have remained true to the original design of the building, keeping the auditorium more or less the way it was. I say more or less because although they haven't massively increased the capacity (around 500 seats) they have the ability to move all the seating around, to raise or lower the stage to add seating to create a theatre in the round and even flood the stage area. The other amazing thing is the accessibility, not only for the public but also for actors and theatre staff, this extends to a gantry around the theatre lighting rig which would allow access to the rig for a lighting engineer in a wheelchair, now how fantastic is that.
The Theatre has a bar on the ground floor as you enter and the old bar layout on the first floor outside the auditorium has been reconfigured and an amazing balcony which gives patrons a view of hope street and our two Cathedrals. and of course in the basement we welcome back the Everyman Bistro, a new and vibrant space with the most amazing lighting. As well as this the theatre now has a writers room available to local writers and meeting and other spaces available to hire, including the rehearsal space, (subject to availability).
|One of the new bars|
The four chimneysn the roof demonstrates just what a green friendly build this is, they are part of the ventilation system which circulates natural air throughout the building. There is also a large tank that collects rainwater to flush the toilets, there are nesting boxes and the theatre plans to put bee hives on the roof, so we can look forward to some fresh honey in the future.
The new Theatre is a great place not only to see plays, but to meet up with friends for a drink and maybe a bite to eat. Tours will be available from April to August, contact the box office for details on 0150709 4776.
Whatever you do, if you are in Liverpool pay the Everyman a visit, you will not be disappointed.
A selection of photographs including the 'Light Up' ceremony and the 'Housewarming' event appear below.
Click on any image to view them all in 'Lightbox' (tm)
|Are you looking at me ! - Lantern Parade|
|School children performing at the event|
|Lights Up and Fireworks|
|Stairs to the Bistro|
|The new Everyman Bistro|
|Actors quiet room|
|View from the upper floors|
|One of the dressing rooms|
|The Rehearsal Space|