Theatre News

Liverpool Writers celebrated in Everyman/Playhouse new Season

”Juno and the Paycock” and ”Bright Phoenix” feature in new season.

Liverpool writers are being celebrated in the Everyman & Playhouse Autumn season.

The Playhouse reinvents two classics with Gemma Bodinetz’s production of Juno and the Paycock, with Niamh Cusack and Des McAleer, and Stephen Sharkey’s Sex and the Three Day Week.

© Everyman and Playhouse

A rich tapestry of 50 years of the Everyman is represented in Jeff Young’s Bright Phoenix, Everyword, and a pop up Fun Palace and an exhibition

Gemma Bodinetz directs Juno and the Paycock at the Playhouse in a co-production with Bristol Old Vic. The cast features Niamh Cusack (The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time) as the eponymous Juno and Des McAleer (Hunger) as her husband Jack Boyle. In a world of zero contract hours, the spread of pawnbrokers, and matriarchs like Juno who struggle to hold their family together against the odds.

Jeff Young’s new play, Bright Phoenix, opens at the Everyman in October and is inspired by a hidden Liverpool, a version of the city that is unauthorised and often unseen. A play about the carnival of the city at night seen through different eyes. It is a love story about a gang of rebel kids who don’t fit in who grow up to be a gang of rebel adults who still don’t fit in. And about their love for a dying cinema and their mad plan to bring it back to life like a phoenix in the night.

Serdar Biliş will direct both Bright Phoenix, and the Playhouse Christmas show, Sex and the Three Day Week, by Stephen Sharkey based on L’Hôtel du Libre Échange by Georges Feydeau. Following the successful adaptations of Molière’s French farces at the Playhouse, Sharkey takes Feydeau’s original and reimagines it for early 1970s Britain – a time of strikes, blackouts, free love and the three day week.

The annual rock ‘n’ roll panto returns to the Everyman with Little Red Riding Hood: Howl Lotta Love, written by regular writers Sarah A Nixon and Mark Chatterton. Audiences will be treated to more flying, water and special effects.

Everyman and Playhouse productions will continue to be seen by audiences outside the city thanks to the co-production of Juno and the Paycock with Bristol Old Vic, while the current production of Dead Dog in a Suitcase with Kneehigh will also be staged in that city in October. The theatre’s co-production of The Kite Runner will embark on a national tour, including a return to the Playhouse for one-week only, with Ben Turner once more in the lead role of Amir.

This season as the Everyman turns 50, its spirit and history is celebrated with a series of events throughout the autumn. In August and September an exhibition charting its history which will be curated by Liverpool John Moores University who recently became the theatres’ principal partner and who hold the Everyman archive. Bright Phoenix will delve into the theatre’s links with the city’s creative underbelly, while the Everyman will join a national-wide event, hosting a pop-up Fun Palace inspired by Joan Littlewood on 4 and 5 October.

The Everyman’s position at the creative heart of the city is seen in three events this autumn. Sense of Sound’s new commission for the 2014 Liverpool International Music Festival, Migration Music, takes to the main stage on 28 and 29 August. The Everyword Festival returns at the end of October with 23 events taking place across both venues and around the city. The theatres will also be supporting Cosmic Trigger, Daisy Eris Campbell’s play that celebrates her father – and legendary Everyman Artistic Director Ken Campbell’s – 1976 play Illuminatos, which will be staged in Liverpool in November.

The Playhouse has the première of JOHN, a new verbatim dance-theatre work by Lloyd Newson, Artistic Director of DV8 Physical Theatre, co-produced by the National Theatre of Great Britain that will launch the Homotopia Festival. The theatres will also host touring work by Northern Broadsides with She Stoops To Conquer and Tall Stories stage Room on the Broom.

Mark Thomas’s new show Cuckooed tells the true story of how he was spied on by Britain biggest arms manufacturer, while former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion performs poems from his new collection The Customs House and Ruby Wax performs Sane New World, based on her best-selling book of the same name. Tim Firth's, musical This Is My Family tours to the Playhouse.