Prof Michael Brown, vice chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University and chair of the Liverpool and Merseyside Theatres Trust, said: “The Everyman is at the heart of the University and Hope Street Quarters and its rebuilding is essential for further regeneration in Liverpool’s visitor culture and the development of the knowledge economy. We are working intensively with our funding partners, and are almost there: a final push should complete the funding package – this 2008 legacy project is critical for Liverpool’s future even in difficult financial times.”
Late last year, the theatre’s main partners – ACE, Liverpool City Council and the North West Development Agency – declared the Everyman redevelopment to be the highest capital priority to ensure a long-term legacy for Liverpool’s Capital of Culture year.
These three bodies, together with city regeneration agency Liverpool Vision, are working with the Everyman directors to complete the funding package in time for the next stage of ACE’s decision-making in May.
The Everyman and its sister theatre, the Playhouse, each of which narrowly escaped permanent closure in the 1990s - have achieved a remarkable creative renaissance which has reached deep into the communities of Merseyside.
Four and five-star national reviews have been gained on 70% of productions at the theatres, while 90,000 young people have been involved in creative activities with the Everyman and Playhouse.
This combination of creative ambition and deep community involvement is the essence of the Everyman - illustrated by the recent production of Billy Wonderful, which reached 3,000 young people in community venues in areas including North Liverpool and Knowsley before achieving four-star national acclaim at the Everyman.
Deborah Aydon, executive director, added: “The Everyman – in contrast to theatres in other major cities - has had no capital investment in over 30 years. The new building will be a crucible for Liverpool artists, offer a vibrant experience for residents and visitors, and house burgeoning educational and community programmes.”
Gemma Bodinetz, artistic director, said: “We are poised to build a new Everyman that harnesses its unique spirit and also provides this treasured part of Hope Street with an integrated youth theatre and community resource, writers’ hubs, rehearsal spaces and a full integration of the beloved Bistro.”
The Liverpool and Merseyside Theatres Trust was formed in 1999 to create a shared management for Liverpool’s two major producing theatres, the Everyman and the Playhouse.
The £24million redevelopment of the Everyman is the first phase of a £41million combined plan for the two theatres. The redevelopment will be designed by international award-winning theatre architect Steve Tompkins of Haworth Tompkins architects.
The practice is responsible for the highly acclaimed redevelopment of London’s Royal Court and Young Vic theatres and was recently appointed to lead the masterplanning of future development for the National Theatre.