Jeff Young’s new play Bright Phoenix, a theatrical tribute to the now-derelict Futurist cinema in Liverpool city centre, has its world première at the Everyman in October.
“Inspired by a hidden Liverpool, a version of the city that is unauthorised and often unseen”, the production is directed by Serdar Biliş, designed by Ti Green and features Paul Duckworth (last seen at the Ev with his brilliant Feste in Twelfth Night) and Cathy Tyson (most recently in Liverpool in the Playhouse Studio’s Monkey Bars earlier in the year).
Bright Phoenix is:”A wild play about the carnival of the city at night seen through different eyes. It is a love story tinged with tragedy about a gang of rebel kids who don’t fit in, who grow up to be a gang of rebel adults, who still don’t fit in. And about their love for a dying cinema and their mad plan to bring it back to life like a phoenix in the night.”
Jeff Young’s work includes BBC dramas Eastenders, Doctors, Casualty and Holby City; his plays have been produced by Bristol Old Vic, Northern Stage, Kneehigh and Liverpool Everyman. He often works in collaboration with artists, musicians, choreographers and film makers and his work has been performed in a drained submarine dock, a disused power station, a derelict school, a bus station in Holland and haunted buildings. Over 10 years he worked on a variety of projects with Pete Townshend, including Lifehouse, a Radio 3 drama and book, and a touring version of Quadrophenia.
Jeff Young said: “I wanted to show people a version of the city that is ‘unauthorised’ or ‘unofficial’ – a glimpse into the magical margins of the city and its characters that are hidden away down back alleys. I also wanted to write a kind of poetic hymn to my favourite building, which is the derelict Futurist cinema on Lime Street. So I chose to write a play that shines a light on the wonderful, nocturnal madness of the city and the characters that dwell in the half-light.”
Paul Duckworth plays Lucas Firebright who left Liverpool on the run from tragedy and has now returned. Penny Layden whose stage and screen credits include Beryl (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Edward II (National Theatre) and Call The Midwife (BBC) plays Lucas’ childhood sweetheart Lizzie Flynn. Cathy Tyson, who began her career in the Everyman Youth Theatre, plays Elsie Barmaid. Cathy was last at the Everyman in 2007’s The May Queen, and her extensive screen credits include Band of Gold, Mona Lisa and Emmerdale.
The cast also includes Rhodri Meilir (Afterlife, ITV; Hogfather, Sky One) who is best known for his role in My Family (BBC), Carl Au (Waterloo Road, BBC; Jersey Boys, Piccadilly Theatre), Mark Rice-Oxley (The Kindness of Strangers, Liverpool Everyman; Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare’s Globe) Rhian Green (Captain Oates’ Left Sock, The Finborough Theatre; Duw a Wyr, Sherman Cymru) and Young Everyman Playhouse member Kieran Urquhart (The Grid, Young Everyman Playhouse).
The production will also feature live music from Laura J Martin and Vidar Norheim. Laura is a renowned multi-instrumentalist who has released a number of albums on the Static Caravan label and regularly tours the UK. Vidar performs regularly with Lizzie Nunnery, has toured worldwide as a member of Liverpool’s alt pop unit Wave Machines and works extensively as a jazz and folk musician. In 2011 he was named as Norway’s most promising song writing talent.
The play runs from October 3 to 25. For tickets and more information, see the Everyman’s website.