Rebuilding the Everyman

 November 10, 2008         Leave a comment

The news that the Everyman is to be redeveloped in a £40m rebuild has inevitably attracted a lot of press and some inevitable protests.

In a year when everything else has been redeveloped it’s not that surprising that another Liverpool landmark is getting the diggers in, though I’m not sure exactly where that amount of funds leaves the redevelopment of the Neptune Theatre – which seems to have been abandoned for years.

I’m sure the funding situation isn’t as simple as all that but while the Everyman has always been a little rough around the edges it’s not actually closed.

Liverpool Everyman to be demolished

Image by Brosmann

The Everyman has apparently been declared “unfit for purpose” and faces a “long lingering death” unless it is demolished, according to Arts Council England, because of its poor rehearsal space and bars.

For the sake of a little background – and keyword stuffing – I’ll point out that Willy Russell, Pete Postlethwaite, Julie Walters, Jonathan Pryce, Alan Bleasdale and Bill Nighy plied their early trade there.

Postlethwaite, a fantastic actor, is currently playing Lear at the Everyman – surely the theatrical equivalent of David Tennant playing Citizen Kane for the headline-grabbiness of its pairing.

Everyman memories

I’m not an avid theatre-goer, but over the years I’ve been to more events at the Everyman that I can remember.

Tom Baker presenting his autobiography was the first time I was ever there and I was struck by how close the audience was to the stage; Louis Emerick fantastic in Master Harold…and the Boys after I’d doubted his ability to pull it off; a surprise birthday party that went wrong; a youthful date to see Closer in a quietly effective production.

There will be more, but they obviously didn’t make as much of an impression. The best play I ever saw there was Yellowman – perfectly suited to the intimate – sometimes uncomfortably intimate, surroundings.

So, I’m not going to go into whether we should be knocking down the Everyman, but I will miss it in its current incarnation. I just hope that the building that emerges retains a little of the rough’n’ready element that I enjoy so much.

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