The Everyman Theatre stands at the north end of Hope Street in Liverpool. It was founded in 1964 in the appropriately named Hope Hall (once a chapel, then a cinema), it quickly built a reputation for ground-breaking work. The Everyman transformation which will create a brand new incarnation of this pioneering and much-loved theatre is now almost complete. It is planned to re-open early 2014. But what of the history of this much loved Liverpool institution ?
The building was constructed as Hope Hall, a dissenters' chapel built in 1837. In 1841 it became a church dedicated to Saint John the Evangelist. This became a public concert hall in 1853. In 1912 the hall was turned into Hope Hall Cinema, which continued serving this purpose until it closed in 1963. Prior to its closure the hall had become a meeting place for local artists, poets, folk musicians, and sculptors, including Arthur Dooley, Roger McGough, and Adrian Henri, forming what became known as the Liverpool Scene. This group decided that the building would be suitable for use as a theatre and in September 1964 the Everyman Theatre was opened by Martin Jenkins, Pete James and Terry Hands.