Photographs of the completed £1m refurbishment of the former Neptune Theatre in Hanover House on Hanover Street in Liverpool city centre have been revealed. (GALLERY)
Liverpool City Council appointed Nobles Construction and architects 2020 Liverpool for the restoration of the theatre, renamed The Epstein Theatre at the end of last year.
The council said it is looking for an operator to run the theatre and following feedback from an initial search has put together a package which it believes will be appealing to potential operators.
Liverpool City Council said a tendering process will begin shortly to find an impresario who can make the theatre a major community venue.
The council hopes to have an organisation in place by the end of the year to deliver a theatre programme, with shows being staged by Christmas this year.
The 400-seat Edwardian venue was revamped with new mahogany front doors, restored crystal chandeliers and replaced electrics, disabled toilets and wheelchair accessibility throughout.
Sophie Nixon, architectural conservationist and project manager of the refurbishment at 2020 Liverpool, said: "Our brief was to refurbish the internal parts of the theatre and improve access, in line with the Disability Discrimination Act, and we wanted to do all this whilst retaining as much of the original fabric as possible. We worked closely with Liverpool City Council in order to do so and I'm really pleased with the completion of what has been a fantastic team effort."
Cllr Joe Anderson, leader of Liverpool City Council, made the re-opening of the theatre one of his major priorities, and after ensuring the funding needed to carry out the refurbishment was ring-fenced, he personally agreed terms with the landlord, David Ramsey of Hanover Estate Management at the end of 2010, so that the redevelopment could begin.
The investment in the venue consists of £750,000 funding from the council and a further £250,000 from Hanover Estate Management.
Acquired by Liverpool Corporation in 1967, the 98-year-old, Grade 2-listed theatre closed its doors in 2005 as it failed to comply with safety regulations and was in need of major refurbishment.
The venue was named in honour of Brian Epstein, who guided The Beatles from popular cellar act to global superstardom.
An event is being held for the official unveiling of the new Epstein signage adorning the front of the building.
Click image to launch gallery