The official groundbreaking at the new Everyman took place today, as the theatre launched its appeal for the final funds to complete the project.
This means building work on the site is now underway. The building project — due for completion in winter 2013 — has already secured £27m funding, 99% of which has been brought into the city from national or European sources including £16.8m from Arts Council England, £5.9m from the European Regional Development Fund and £2.5m invested by the Northwest Regional Development Agency.
The first major donation from a Liverpool philanthropist – £200k from the Peter Johnson Foundation – marks the transition to the theatre inviting local people to get involved via the Everyone for the Everyman appeal.
Everyman and Playhouse executive director Deborah Aydon said: “The beginning of the build is a phenomenally exciting moment. We have raised 98% of the funds needed to complete the building, and are now asking those who love the Everyman – and we know there are a great many who do, very passionately – to play their part in making the new theatre the best it can be.
“The new building will be a wonderful thing, but it is not the end of the story: it’s the beginning of the next chapter. So funds raised through the Everyone for the Everyman appeal will also support the writers, actors, directors and designers of the future, so that the new theatre will be an exciting creative hub for many decades to come.”
David Morrissey, who started his acting life in the Everyman Youth Theatre and returned last May to play Macbeth in the last production before redevelopment, agrees that the Everyman is an exceptional environment for young people and new work. He says: “The Everyman provided me and many others with the courage to follow our dreams and pursue a career in the theatre. Now it can do the same for a whole new generation and act as a creative heart in the city.”
Donations large or small can be made as a single or regular gift, and every pound donated up to the first £250,000 will be matched by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. Supporters giving £500 or more will have an opportunity to Name a Seat in the new theatre, and everyone who makes a gift, of any size, will be thanked and acknowledged on the theatre’s website and in a special celebratory publication.
For more information on how to get involved in Everyone for the Everyman, call Rowena on 0151 706 9124, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go online to www.everymanplayhouse.com where you can find more details of the new theatre, regular progress updates and a live webcam.