Everyman plans submitted

Michael Hunt

The Liverpool & Merseyside Theatres Trust is submitting its planning application for the redevelopment of the Everyman theatre to Liverpool City Council today.

Auditorium section at new EverymanDeveloped and designed in close collaboration with architects Haworth Tompkins, the practice behind the Young Vic which was hired three years ago to design the new Everyman, the building will provide new incarnations of the existing Everyman theatre, which is being demolished, and the basement Bistro. The iconic Everyman sign will be re-created for the front of the new theatre on Hope Street.

At an unveiling of 3D models showing the design of the new three storey theatre yesterday, Deborah Aydon, executive director of the Everyman and Playhouse theatres, said: "We will be making further announcements in the next few weeks of dates when the public can come and view the models of the new theatre and go on tours of the current theatre."

The project team aims to start work on demolishing the current theatre, which has cramped backstage quarters, by spring next year.

In 2005, The Liverpool & Merseyside Theatres Trust acquired 11 Hope Street, formerly John Mills Photography, with Arts Council funding for an undisclosed sum.

 floorplan of new Everyman showing ground floorThe car park to the rear of the current theatre, in Arrad Street, has also been purchased by The Liverpool & Merseyside Theatres Trust for the new Everyman to be built on an expanded site in Hope Street, which will include:

  • A new 400-seat theatre including second level of seating
  • A recreation of the existing Everyman Bistro bar and restaurant
  • A dedicated space to house the theatres' work with its youth theatre, schools and community groups
  • Front-of-house, catering and bar facilities
  • Rehearsal space and production workshops

The existing theatre building is 6,000 sq ft, which is being increased to 15,500 sq ft plus a 1,022 sq ft loading bay will be introduced as part of the development plans.

Steve Tompkins, director of Haworth Tompkins, said: "The theatre was last refurbished in 1977 so it has become out dated. We are increasing the footprint of the theatre by over 60% and it's been an exciting challenge incorporating the new design into what is an established and iconic location in Liverpool. We have tried to honour its unique spirit while equipping it for a new generation of brilliant theatre."

Tompkins said that the design of the new theatre will also feature natural ventilation throughout, incorporating a number of low energy strategies, and is on course to achieve an 'excellent' BREEAM rating.

The building will be constructed with a new frontage on Hope Street comprising 105 life-sized, abstracted portraits of Liverpool people transferred onto cut aluminium shutters, which aim to represent the local community as well as those who have worked at and for the theatre.

The Liverpool & Merseyside Theatres Trust and the project team have consulted on its design with audiences, youth groups, drama teachers, community and access forums, writers, actors, alumni, corporate members and the Bistro partners. They have also been working closely with the local planning office and Commission for Architecture and Built Environment.

Gemma Bodinetz, artistic director of the Everyman and Playhouse theatres, added: "The addition of a dedicated space for our youth and outreach work, rehearsal room, writers' hub, natural ventilation, full disabled access and 21st century technical facilities will mean that this much loved theatre will live on in a physical incarnation that fits its national reputation and idiosyncratic personality."

The Liverpool & Merseyside Theatres Trust was formed in 1999 to create a shared management for Liverpool's Everyman theatre and Playhouse theatre, which is located in Williamson Square.

The redevelopment of the Everyman is the first phase of a combined plan for the two theatres.

The total budget for the redevelopment of the Everyman is £28m. The funding plan includes £15m from Arts Council England and £2.5m invested from the North West Development Agency.

The Liverpool & Merseyside Theatres Trust is also currently progressing bids for £6m of funding from the European Regional Development Fund and a further £3m from the North West Development Agency. The balance is being sought from fundraising and appeals.

The new Everyman theatre is due to open in 2013 and Playhouse refurbishment completed by 2016.

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