Well, we knew it had to happen, and now it is official – the Everyman as we know and love it will officially close on Saturday, July 2.
So much big news – where to start? The final production, Macbeth with David Morrissey and Jemma Redgrave, has been extended due to popular demand; and Slung Low, who charmed audiences with their roaming Anthology last year, will be on hand to stage a fitting closing event. Deaf School and the surviving Mersey Sound poets will also hold special events there before the closure to mark a real end of an era.
The £28m redevelopment of the Hope Street theatre has now secured its full public funding package. With £16.8m from Arts Council England and £2.5m previously invested by the Northwest Regional Development Agency, a £5.9m investment from the ERDF now means that the project can proceed as planned on site in August this year with the new, “21st century Everyman” to open in 2013.
The theatre is now working with Slung Low, with whom they collaborated on last year’s Anthology of seven stories performed on and around Hope Street, to “create a fitting finale to celebrate this much-loved landmark”.
Macbeth opens on May 6, and will now be extended by one week until June 11, due to exceptionally high demand. The final month will also see performances from Roger McGough and Brian Patten (20 June), and legendary band and Everyman favourites Deaf School, who came together on Hope Street in the 1970s (17 & 18 June).
From mid-May onwards there will be tours of the theatre and opportunities to see and discuss the designs for the new Everyman, and throughout the redevelopment there will be regular updates as the new theatre takes shape.
Deborah Aydon, Executive Director Everyman and Playhouse Theatres said: “After ten years of planning and many funding setbacks we are absolutely delighted to reach this point. We are enormously grateful to the funders and to other supporters such as the City Council, who have made this happen by working together. In just a few months we will be on site, working to create an inspiring new Everyman for generations to come. “
Artistic Director Gemma Bodinetz added: “Saying farewell to our much loved theatre will be a profoundly moving event for all who have worked and performed here and indeed for the people of Liverpool. We hope that our planned events will honour the thousands of memories the Everyman contains but feel secure that its new incarnation will prove to be an even greater resource for our audiences, youth theatre, communities and artists of the future.”
City council leader, Cllr Joe Anderson said: “This is a long-awaited redevelopment and the new Everyman will continue to be a key cornerstone of Liverpool’s cultural life. I look forward to seeing the theatre take shape and become a must-visit venue for future generations.”
For the remaining £2.1m project costs, the theatres have already raised over £700,000 from private trusts and foundations and the appeal for the remaining funds will begin this autumn. This will include raising a parallel fund for investment in new talent, giving supporters and donors the opportunity to ensure that future generations of talent in the city are nurtured and sustained beyond the completion of the new building.