The Playhouse has announced its autumn season, and with it, begun to reveal how it’s going to get around the loss of sister theatre the Everyman following its closure next month. Yet the more things change, the more they stay the same – the Playhouse turns 100 later in the year as well. Built in 1866 as the Star Music Hall, it became a full-time repertory theatre on November 11, 1911.
We can assume that combination of celebration and commiseration has inspired the plan for the next few months. Everything on the Playhouse stage for the rest of the year will be its own, in house productions, and it is also reopening the studio space to stage smaller works.
We already knew the theatre will be hosting the Everyman panto this year and premiering Graham Linehans’ adaptation of The Ladykillers in November, and now they have added to this the return of one of their biggest critical successes of recent years: Tartuffe.
Roger McGough’s adaptation of the Moliere classic was one of the highlights of Capital of Culture year, and returns with many of the same cast for 12 performances before a national tour with the English Touring Theatre. And Brechtian allegory The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui, translated by Liverpool playwright Stephen Sharkey and directed by Walter Meierjohann promises a “gangster spectacle” combining black humour and a highly visual style.
The Studio will be launched with a new work from playwrite Lizzie Nunnery, The Swallowing Dark. The Studio will provide an opportunity to showcase new writing but will also offer a nurturing environment for the Everyman and Playhouse’s Youth Theatre as well as hosting plays for young people, workshops, and readings.
Artistic director Gemma Bodinetz said: “On November 11 the Liverpool Repertory Theatre will be a hundred years old and the spirit that underpinned those original pioneers who sought to bring high-quality, home produced theatre to Liverpool lives on.
“Many of our most celebrated theatre practitioners took their first steps as artists in the safe yet utterly daring Playhouse Studio. The renaissance of the Playhouse Studio is our birthday present to the theatre. Whilst we will still have to use it as a rehearsal room, we have fitted it out to allow public access and technical support for use as a studio theatre whenever we can.”
This is all great news for Liverpool theatregoers. The studio space means we won’t be missing out on the type of work that would usually be staged at the Everyman, and that their commitment to new writing will continue and thrive as the Everyword festival returns there this year. And the decision to make the autumn season 100% in house surely protects jobs despite the fact there will be only one theatre to run, not two, by the time it begins.
Tickets for the autumn season go on sale on Monday (June 20). To book, call the box office on 0151 709 4776 or visit www.everymanplayhouse.com.