Hold on to your lingo bingo hats. In a time of interesting announcements, here’s this week’s, as it has been announced the theatre formerly known as Neptune is to be taken over by music festival organisers Sound City. Take a drink for every mention of cultural offers, diverse audiences, putting the city on the map, and so on:
The Epstein Theatre, as the signage has been so optimistically stating for some time, will once again become a “lively music venue” after Liverpool Sound City was successful in bidding to become its new operator.
In July, a £1 million refurbishment was completed which saw the Hanover Street venue brought up to “21st century standards” and renamed in honour of former Beatles manager Brian Epstein.
Following the completion of the work, Liverpool City Council searched for an operator to run the venue, and Sound City’s plans to rejuvenate it with a strong programme of music came out on top.
During the tender process the company set out their aspirations for the Epstein, a jargontastic plan which involved transforming the venue into “a location where entertainment can be accessed by a diverse audience contributing to the culture of the city and creating jobs for the people of Liverpool”.
The Sound City team outlined plans to use the building to showcase cutting edge art and pop culture ranging from drama productions to art exhibitions, and also aim to ensure the Epstein can be utilised by community groups from across the city.
Liverpool City Council’s cabinet member for culture and tourism, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “This is an exciting new era in the long history of this venue. It’s fantastic to see all the hard work pay off and know that soon it will be brought to life and take its rightful place once again as a key part of this city’s cultural scene.
“Sound City’s vision was inspiring and will make the venue a hub of excitement and creativity which is sure to be embraced by this music-loving city. Liverpool is famed worldwide for its musical offer, and this new venture will provide the perfect platform for the city’s up and coming artists.
“I look forward to seeing the Epstein back in use once again and for a new generation to experience this beautiful venue.”
Dave Pichilingi, chief executive of Sound City, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be taking on the Epstein Theatre. It is such an amazing venue and facility.
“We plan to turn it into a space that will be a gemstone in the cultural offer for Liverpool. Such an amazing building needs to be used and seen by an international and local audience. We believe our vision for the Epstein will put our city firmly on the map and show Liverpool as a 21st century pop culture city.
“It needs to be added that this is as much to do with Joe Anderson [no relation – ed] and a forward looking City Council as it is to do with our cutting edge ideas. This is public and commercial working together in great harmony with common vision and purpose.”
The proof will be in the pudding, and details of when the theatre will open its doors will be announced in the new year.
The theatre, which has a capacity of 385, was bought by the Liverpool Corporation in 1967 to be ‘run by the people, for the people’. The Grade II listed building closed its doors in 2005 as it failed to comply with safety regulations and was in need of major refurbishment.
The £1million investment in the venue consists of £750,000 funding from the city council and a further £250,000 from Hanover Estate Management Ltd.
The theatre was originally opened as Crane’s Music Hall in 1911, and was a popular location for recitals and performances. It was renamed Crane Theatre in 1938.