Everyman for Everyone portrait wall revealed

David McCourt

Photographer Dan Kenyon, architect Steve Tompkins and Everyman and Playhouse artistic director Gemma Bodinetz have selected the final composition of 105 images that will form a new portrait wall on Hope Street.

Last year the Everyman and Playhouse invited people to take part in a photography project to create a portrait wall on the front of the new Everyman theatre.

Designed by architect Steve Tompkins, this large-scale artwork represents the idea that the Everyman is for everyone.

Photo sessions were held at venues across the city as hundreds took part.Everyman portrait wall

Gemma Bodinetz, artistic director at the Everyman and Playhouse, said: "The variety of wonderful people who came along to take part really blew us away and it was great to hear everyone's stories about themselves and their connection to the Everyman."

Steve Tompkins, founding director at Haworth Tompkins architects, said: "It has been terribly difficult to whittle these wonderful portraits down to just 105. But the main driver for this project is an aesthetic one and so final selection was based on how the individual images related to others in the makeup of the shutters and the overall composition of the wall."

The Everyman and Playhouse has organised an event later this month to get everyone who features in the pictures together for the first time.

Liverpool-based film company, Handstand Productions, are making a film about the portrait wall project and will be following several people throughout the process as their shutters are produced and the wall created.

Stephen Nze, from Toxteth, is one of the people taking part in the film. He said: "Hearing that I was chosen as one of the 105 was amazing news and makes me very proud. In my late teens I performed at the Everyman with our then drama group Catalyst. To hear that I will be part of this piece of art that makes up the front of the new Everyman is just amazing, I just can't wait to see it and for my family and friends to see it and one day hopefully, god willing, my grandchildren."

The images are currently being cut from aluminum plates using water jet technology. A full size shutter is approximately 800mm wide x 1900mm high.

Liverpool-based portrait photographer Dan Kenyon was appointed as the photographer for the portrait wall project. A visiting lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University, Kenyon is known for his 2008 book Liverpool: Sung and Unsung.

Kenyon said: "This has been a really exciting project for me as a photographer, trying to draw out people's personalities but also fulfill the technical and compositional requirements of the manufacturing process for each individual shutter. I can't wait to see the wall."

Designed by architects, Haworth Tompkins, the £28m Everyman project will combine the wrap-around auditorium and basement bistro with new facilities such as a pavement café, rehearsal and workshop facilities, and a dedicated space for the theatre's work with young people and community groups.

Belfast-based builder Gilbert Ash NI has started work on the new Everyman, which is scheduled for completion at the end of 2013. The new three-storey, 15,500 sq ft building has been funded by by Arts Council England, North West Development Agency, European Regional Development Fund and other public and private bodies.

Everyman portrait wall

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