The former operator of Liverpool’s Epstein Theatre has warmly welcomed efforts to breathe new life into the historic venue.
Since the theatre closed its doors in June, there has been speculation about what’s next for the historic venue. Now Theatres Trust, a charity that helps new theatres as well as re-opening previously closed ones, has added the Epstein to its ‘at-risk register’ for 2024.
Bill Elms (pictured above), theatre producer and former operator of the Epstein, said: “I fully welcome the Epstein being added to the Theatres Trust’s At Risk Register.
“This will add much needed focus and give prospective companies and individuals the opportunity to explore options to re-open again.
“The Epstein is hugely missed in the city – no other venue can fill the void that’s been created since the Epstein’s closure, both as a receiving house and an advancement for local companies from the many studio spaces in the city.
“We have to find a way to reopen this beautiful building, its a unique historical gem and needs to continue entertaining the people of our city, which it has done for over 100 years.”
Claire Appleby, from Theatres Trust, said: “Theatres Trust has added Epstein Theatre to our Theatres at Risk Register in recognition that with the right support, this unusual and intimate theatre could be revived.
“Its addition to the register acknowledges the uncertain future faced by the venue after Liverpool City Council was unable to renew its lease of the building and subsequently the associated management agreement with the incumbent theatre operator.
“Operator Epstein Entertainments Ltd has likewise been unable to agree new lease terms with the building landlord forcing the theatre’s closure in June 2023. This has left this unique theatre/ concert hall vacant and with no plans for the future.
“We will seek to engage with all parties to find a viable and sustainable future solution to see the theatre re-opened for the city.”
Shortly before closing, Liverpool City Council announced they were unable to renew the lease for Epstein Entertainment Ltd who were awarded a 18-month management agreement in October 2021.
this offers renewed hope for this extraordinary space
Since then they were unable to negotiate with the building landlord, who required a minimum five-year lease.
Cllr Harry Doyle, Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, said:
“We welcome the move to add The Epstein to the risk register as this offers renewed hope for this extraordinary space.
“In their role as intermediary, the Theatres Trust can now ensure there are productive conversations between the commercial landlord and any potential operators, with the shared ambition to find a positive solution which would see this important cultural asset reopening its doors.”
Originally built in 1913 as Crane’s Music Hall, the theatre has changed its name throughout the years before being renamed the Epstein Theatre in 2011 honouring Brian Epstein, manager of the Beatles.
Featured image (c) Kieron Day