Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse

A £35m redevelopment of the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse theatres has been announced today.

The Arts Council England's Capital Lottery Programme has already pledged £8m to the project which is scheduled to begin in 2009 as an inspiring legacy to the Capital of Culture year in 2008.

The theatres have set themselves a target of £2m to be raised from trusts, events and appeals to help create a new Everyman and refurbish the Grade II listed Playhouse to bring out its heritage character.

The balance of £25m will now be sought from key development agencies in the region, expected to include the North West Development Agency.Under the plans the Everyman would double in size with a new 100-seat studio theatre added. The Playhouse will be redevloped within heritage rules on its current site, after plans for a possible new joint theatre were dropped because a suitable site could not be found.

In addition to new facilities, it is hoped the proposals will create new employment and training opportunities as well as opening up the theatre experience to children, young people and members of the wider community.

The plans were announced to coincide with the Liverpool and Merseyside's Theatres Trust Annual General Meeting where it was revealed that audiences at both theatres have experienced "remarkable growth."

In the three years since the theatre's new mission was introduced by directors Gemma Bodintez and Debroah Aydon, (pictured above), the number of performances have increased by 39%, the numbers attending by 45%, turnover by 44%and earned income had risen by 57%.

Now the proposals have been announced, the Trust is preparing to enter the final stages of feasibility planning and tenders are being invited to establish a design team and project manger of international standing to take the project forward.Jim Gill, chief executive of Liverpool Vision, said:"The Everyman and Playhouse are two of the city's most important cultural assets.

"Their success has been an important factor in the regeneration of Liverpool city centre, not only to the city visitor economy but in making Liverpool more attractive to investment. The proposed redevelopment and expansion of the theatres is essential if Liverpool is to build on the legacy of 2008 and its reputation as a city of international cultural significance."

Cllr Warren Bradley, leader of Liverpool City Council, said: "The Everyman and Playhouse are an integral part of the cultural fabric of the city. They play a key role in promoting the wealth of creative talent that exists in Liverpool, and attract some of the best national works. The City Council is committed to the future success of the Everyman and Playhouse." source....