Exterior of the Liverpool Everyman. Photography: Adam Gardiner
Liverpool Everyman (c) Adam Gardiner

Theatre-goers took a look behind the scenes in an exciting event to celebrate 60 years of the Liverpool Everyman at the weekend.

The cultural institution has produced some of the country’s most recognisable faces across stage and screen, including Pete Postlethwaite and Stephen Graham.

A spotlight was shone on the Young Everyman Playhouse (YEP), a programme which aims to keep the theatre’s cultural flame burning bright for years to come.

As part of the event, audience members of all ages were invited to meet members of YEP to ask questions, hear stories and sign up.

Young Everyman and Playhouse

Hayley Lindley-Thornhill, the Head of Young People and Communities, told MerseyNewsLive: “In the year that I’ve been here I’ve learnt so much about how the Everyman sits at the centre of everyone’s heart.

“For me, YEP is about what this building will continue to mean to people as they go into their future.”

Kieran Sing, 29, is a homegrown talent and product of the programme. He is now head of the technical department.

He said: “I’ve had great opportunities given to me by the theatre which have enabled me to empower myself and have my own voice.”

Current member of the group, 14-year-old Ava Perry, felt honoured to be part of the 60th anniversary. She said: “I feel like I’m part of a little community, it’s nice!”

Commemorative Plaque Unveiled

Outside the theatre, another part of the multi-faceted event was taking place as a plaque commemorating American abolitionist Frederick Douglass was unveiled.

Douglass made a speech at Hope Hall in 1860, which became the site of the Everyman Theatre in 1964.

The plaque was designed by Liverpudlian Vicki Opomu, who was chosen after an open call for designs from local artists.

Vicki said: “I did some research and found about about him travelling to the UK, America and Ireland and the first thing that came to mind was a stamp.

“It meant a lot to be selected and it was such a great project to be part of because I didn’t learn much about him at school.”

A Peek Behind the Scenes

Visitors who joined the backstage tour were treated to “A Peek in the Rehearsal Room” of upcoming production The Legend of Ned Ludd.

Playwright Joe Ward Munrow and actor Shaun Mason were on hand to answer questions and offer insight into the process of taking a play from page to stage.

Joe said: “What the Everyman is really good at is reinvigorating itself and working out what stories it needs to tell.

“It feels like it’s going through that process again and it’s really exciting time to be here.”

Shaun, another product of YEP, said: “I’m very grateful to the Everyman for giving me and all those young people opportunities.”

Bright Future Ahead

The day of celebration and education was enjoyed by theatre staff and visitors alike.

The building was filled with both young and old, as tour guides revelled in teaching members of the community about the building’s rich history and future plans.

Whether you’re a seasoned theatre-goer, or completely new to the arts, the Everyman and Playhouse have made it clear: you will be welcomed, with open arms, for many years to come.

Featured image (c) Adam Gardiner


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