Liverpool’s Everyman and Playhouse theatres this week launch their autumn/winter in-house season, which includes four new ‘Made in Liverpool’ productions, amongst them the world premiere of Gregory Burke’s latest play and a revival of an alternative Christmas show by Alan Ayckbourn.

The schedule kicks off in the Playhouse tomorrow (Friday 30 September 2005) with Shakespeare’s last play The Tempest. Actor-turned-director Philip Franks directs the new production which continues until 22 October 2005.

The Playhouse will also house Nikolai Foster’s revival of Ayckbourn’s 1980 comedy, Season's Greetings, running from 8 December 2005 to 21 January 2006. Neville Bunker has once again forgotten to buy a Christmas present for his wife Belinda. Meanwhile, sister Rachel is in her usual state about her love life, Uncle Bernard is planning another interminable puppet show, Uncle Harvey is growing more eccentric, Patti and husband Eddie are at their customary loggerheads and Auntie Phyllis is drunk in the kitchen.

In the Everyman, Gregory Burke’s On Tour, a co-production with the Royal Court, runs from 28 October to 19 November 2005 following its London season at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Upstairs (See News, 1 Aug 2005). The play, directed by Matthew Wilde, follows the exploits of a Mancunian and a Scouser abroad as they get involved with flogging football merchandise with a sideline in drugs to the fans and hooligans.

Burke was awarded Most Promising Playwright in 2002, Best New Play at the TMA Barclay Awards and shared the Meyer-Witworth Award for Gagarin Way, which he followed up with 2003’s The Straits.

The Everyman’s family-friendly Christmas show will be Cinderella, a rock ‘n’ roll panto, which runs at the theatre from 2 December 2005 to 28 January 2006. Mark Chatterton and Sarah Nixon present this modern twist on the classic tale, which sees a feisty lass from Bottle making her dreams come true.

Touring productions visiting Liverpool’s Playhouse this coming season include Shared Experience’s Bronte (25 to 29 October), Watershed’s adaptation of Jacqueline Wilson’s children’s book Midnight (8 to 12 November), and adult comedy Cooking With Elvis, (14 to 19 November). At the Everyman, visiting shows include The Little Mermaid (4 to 8 October) and the National Theatre revival of Brian Friel’s Translations (11 to 15 October).

- by Caroline Ansdell & Terri Paddock