Now in its seventh year, the festival offers the chance to hear from leading writers and companies as well as a number of free events and installations, as the wave of new writing spreads from the Everyword Tent to other locations in the city. Everyword is at the Liverpool Playhouse from today (Monday October 22) until Saturday.
A new addition to the programme sees the festival launched with an annual lecture, supported by Liverpool John Moores University, with Everyman and Playhouse artistic director Gemma Bodinetz giving the inaugural address. Bodinetz has made making new theatre in and for the city of Liverpool a key part of her mission since taking the artistic reins. She will be joined by five award-winning Liverpool playwrights, including Helen Blakeman, Lizzie Nunnery and Michael Wynne, to share how they make theatre in this city and beyond, from where they began to where they are heading to.
Everyman and Playhouse literary associate Lindsay Rodden said: “Everyword is for anyone who writes, or wants to write, for performance; who are excited by the theatre making process, who are curious about what goes on in a theatre-maker’s brain, and the process of making the art.”
The festival will be offering workshops from a variety of practitioners, including one as part of the Bruntwood Roadshow led by Duncan Macmillan, whose play Lungs has recently been nominated as Best New Play in the Theatre Awards UK. Other workshops that are sure to inform and inspire aspiring writers include the internationally renowned Complicite and Liverpool theatre company Spike Theatre.
There will be eight readings in this year’s festival with highlights including multi-award winning Australian playwright Tom Holloway’s latest play Forget Me Not and Gary: A Love Story by James Harker along with a work-in-progress showing of Spike Theatre’s next new play Sink or Swim.
The Everyman and Playhouse also continue to nurture new talent, with work by Daniel Matthew and Helen Jennings – both graduates of Young Everyman Playhouse Writers – receiving rehearsed readings. The theatres’ current writers on attachment, Luke Barnes, James Harker and Joe Ward Munrow, will all present readings of their current projects in one night during the festival in Three Card Trick.
Munrow’s current play, Held, which will receive its world premiere in the Playhouse Studio in November, will open up its rehearsal room for a one-off event. Part observation, part workshop, Inside the Rehearsal Room will offer festival-goers a unique opportunity to see a play taking shape.
The final day of the festival features an intriguing installation by writer Jeff Young. Set in a secret location, the exhibition Jeff’s Brain invites the audience to explore the inner workings of his mind: charting what influences him, from the artistic and the personal, and everything in between. A map will take visitors from the Playhouse to a building where the inner workings of Jeff’s brain has been installed.
Throughout the festival writers and creatives will be able to drop in to the Everyword Tent, a big top which will be in residence at the Playhouse to provide a space to share and collaborate. The theatre will also host two free exhibitions: Picture A City runs throughout the festival and on each night the city will be imagined anew by a different Liverpool writer – a snapshot of a story, inspired by a picture of the city; and The Incident Room, a sound installation of short audio plays and other fragments, written by the next generation of Liverpool playwrights.
Everyword has seen the first readings of many new plays that have progressed to full-scale productions which in the past include Unprotected, Lost Monsters, The Swallowing Dark, Tiny Volcanoes, Dead Heavy Fantastic, Endz and this season’s Held.