Liverpool City Council has approved the £28m refurbishment plans for the Everyman theatre on Hope Street.

Cllr Joe Anderson, leader of Liverpool City Council, said: “It’s a vital redevelopment for the city’s future. The Everyman is a real gem in Liverpool’s cultural life and while it will have a new-look it will retain its unique spirit.”

A planning application was submitted in May at which time the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment described the design, by prominent theatre architect Haworth Tompkins, as “an exemplar in all aspects of its design.”

The designs include new incarnations of the Everyman’s 400-seat ‘thrust’ stage auditorium, basement Bistro and Everyman sign.

These will be complemented by vital facilities it currently lacks, many of which will also serve its sister theatre, the Playhouse. These will include a Youth and Community Space for the theatres’ vast and growing work with education and community groups; rehearsal space, workshops and offices for production staff; and an area for writers to develop their work.

Within a statement, the theatre said: “Since the recent announcement £2.4m North West Development Agency funds would no longer be available to support the project, the Everyman management team has been engaged in positive discussions with all project stakeholders to close this gap and maintain the quality and momentum of the project. All remain fully committed to making it happen.

Artistic director Gemma Bodinetz added: "Over the summer we have been holding public presentations and drop in sessions, continuing the consultation with the many people who care passionately about their Everyman. We have been overwhelmed by the positive response to the new design and with the desire that this greener, more accessible and inclusive vision of the Everyman and Bistro becomes a reality in the near future.”

The redevelopment is scheduled to go on site in 2011 so that the new Everyman will open in 2013.