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Everyman & Playhouse

Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse Theatres brings two world premieres to the city as its new season is announced

1 year ago

Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse Theatres brings two world premieres to the city as its new season is announced

After Liverpool’s hugely successful hosting of Eurovision 2023 on behalf of Ukraine, music remains centre stage with the  season opening in  July with a new musical adventure of  Alice in Wonderland  (created with  Stockroom  and  Theatre Royal Plymouth) and closing  with  Suba Das  directing this year’s  Rock ‘n’ Roll  panto  Cinderella.

The season includes two world premieres, with Birkenhead born writer  Michael Wynne  returning to the Liverpool Everyman Theatre with  Cuckoo  (in association with Royal Court  Theatre, London) and  High Times and Dirty Monsters, a co-production with two of the venue’s  Associate Companies -  20 Stories High  and  Graeae  – and  LEEDS 2023.  There’s a host of visiting companies too, including  Dracula: Mina’s Reckoning  from  National Theatre of Scotland,  Frantic Assembly  with  Metamorphosis,  TONY! The Tony Blair Rock Opera  and  Ken Loach’s  I, Daniel Blake, with the West End hit  The Woman in Black  enjoying a festive residency at the Playhouse.  

Everyman

A riotous  pop  musical adventure for all the family,  Alice in Wonderland  is at the  Liverpool Playhouse from 4 to 22 July, featuring original new music by  Olivier Award winner  Vikki Stone. Produced in association with  Stockroom  and  Theatre Royal Plymouth, the show stars multi-talented actor-musicians including Olivier, Critics Circle and WhatsOnStage.com award winner  Leanne Jones  as The Queen of Charts, and Merseyside actor  Paislie Reid, (CITV’s TV’s  The  New  Worst Witch  and most recently seen in  Red Riding Hood  at the Liverpool Everyman), playing Alice.  

Award-winning writer, composer, comedian and musician  Vikki Stone, said:   

“Liverpool is a City of Music known for launching so many brilliant bands and singers, so it feels like the perfect place to debut a brand new feel-good pop musical. This  Alice in Wonderland  takes inspiration from everything from disco to grime and pop to punk with everything in between.”  

Created in partnership with the Royal Court Theatre, London, Birkenhead-born writer  Michael Wynne  returns to the Everyman with  Cuckoo. An Olivier and BAFTA-Award winner, Michael has enjoyed past success with  Hope Place  (part of the Everyman’s re-opening season in 2015).  A dark comedy about three generations of women,  Cuckoo  opens in London before coming to the Liverpool Everyman from 6 to 23 September. Directed by Royal Court Theatre, London, Artistic Director,  Vicky Featherstone  the cast  includes  Sue Jenkins (Coronation Street  for ITV,  Brookside  for Channel 4) as the family matriarch, with her daughters played by  Michelle Butterly  (Hope Place  at the Everyman,  Benidorm  for ITV) and  Jodie McNee  (Twelfth Night  at the Everyman, the film  Judy), and introduces Liverpool actor  Emma Harrison  as Megyn.   

Playwright  Michael Wynne  said:  

“Cuckoo  follows three generations of a matriarchal family as they try to live their lives in what can feel like difficult and crazy times. They’re dealing with financial insecurity, economic decline, all pervasive technology and the potential impact of climate change – amongst other things. This might sound quite heavy but fundamentally it’s a comedy about a family trying to get on with their lives and each other.  I can’t wait for the show to be enjoyed back on my home turf!”  

High Times and Dirty Monsters, led by two of the theatre’s Associate Companies,  20 Stories High  and  Graeae, with  Leeds 2023  opens at the Liverpool Everyman from 9 to 14 October before going on a national tour. This unique Hip Hop show with Deaf, disabled and neurodivergent artists shares what it is to be young and disabled in 2023, as a collective of actors, beatboxers, rappers, and dancers present a raucous, radical, celebratory show with heavy beats, stunning visuals, movement, and artistically embedded access including integrated BSL, creative captioning and audio description. Commitment to access also extends to mental health provision, touch tours, and accessible ticket pricing among initiatives.   

Keith Saha, Artistic Director of 20 Stories High / Director of  High Times and  Dirty Monsters  said:   

“Fusing the expertise from our four companies has presented such an exciting opportunity to create a production that is as accessible as it possibly can be. The skill and energy of the team involved and the stories that are being told promise to make for an unforgettable night out.”  

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The iconic Everyman Rock ‘n’ Roll panto is back for 2023 with  Cinderella  from 17 November to 20 January and is already the theatre’s fastest selling panto. Written by two phenomenally talented North West writers  Luke Barnes  and  Sonia Jalaly,  Creative Director  Suba Das  once again leads a brilliant team including the return of  Rob Green  as Musical Director, nominated in the UK Pantomime Awards for Best Contribution to Music for last year’s  Red Riding Hood. With heaps of sass, silliness and sparkle, the awesomely talented actor musicians will bring the classic fairy tale to life in surprising style.   

Suba Das  said:  

“It’s one of the proudest experiences of my career to have seen tens of thousands of audience members of all ages and backgrounds laughing and singing along with our brilliant, diverse, actor-musician cast last year. We can’t wait to get started!”  

Everyman

The summer months see two festivals at the Everyman, as  Physical Fest  open their bi-annual international physical theatre festival with  Tmesis’  Sealskin  from 29 June to 1 July. Directed by  Eli Randle, Artistic Director of the Liverpool-based company, this new show combines their trademark playfulness and highly skilled physicality in a powerful story of betrayal, power, otherness and loss. Meanwhile the  Young Everyman Playhouse  (YEP) Directors’ Festival  is back and bigger than ever, with six brilliant short plays showcasing the talents of this year’s YEP Directors cohort. From 11 to 29 July, with the support of the Base Techs training programme and YEP actors past and present, the festival is a living commitment to the theatre’s successful talent development programmes.  

Everyman

The Playhouse Studio continues to be a space for development and experiment, as the home of new work by theatre-makers originally from and based in Liverpool City Region.  Finger Food Shorts  (5 to 7 July) returns for a second year showcasing six writers emerging and/or established in their own fields, including Dorcas Sebuyange, Felix Mufti, PJ Smith, Soulla Tantouri Erikse, Terri White and Isobel Campbell. Liverpool actors  Mickey Starke  and  Joe McGann  take on a new play  Balls!  (26 to 28 October), written and directed by Keith Wilson about an unemployed plumber and an extra-terrestrial from the Dark Star universe. Associate Company  Homotopia  return with  QueerCore  (17 to 18 November) featuring a new generation of LGBTQIA+ artists: Ollie Adebisi, Bronwyn Andrews, Luke Fawcett and Grace Tomkins.  

Credit: Helen Murray (www.helenmurrayphotos.com)

The visiting programme at the Playhouse includes  I, Daniel Blake, fresh from a sell-out run at Northern Stage (19 to 23 September). One of the most important stories of a generation, it’s adapted for the stage by  Dave Johns  who played Daniel in the 2016 award winning film.  TONY! The Tony Blair Rock Opera  is a rip-roaring new musical from  Harry Hill  and  Steve Brown  (10 to 14 October). A hilarious musical tragedy of political intrigue, religion, power and romance, the Liverpool tour dates coincide with the Labour Party Conference in the city. 

Frantic Assembly  make a welcome return with  Metamorphosis, adapted by  Lemn Sissay  (17 to 21 October). With the company’s uncompromising physicality, this will be an unmissable retelling of  Franz Kafka’s shocking tale of cruelty and kindness. Ahead of Halloween,  National Theatre of Scotland  and  Aberdeen Performing Arts  re-tell another grotesque story with  Dracula, Mina’s Reckoning  (24 to 28 October).  Morna Pearson’s adaptation of  Bram Stoker’s classic tale features an all-women and non-binary ensemble cast. The legendary production of  Susan Hill’s chilling ghost story  The Woman in Black  returns for a festive residency (5 to 30 December) after an incredible 33 year run in the West End.  

The theatres’ commitment to inspiring children and families through the magic of theatre continues Liverpool theatre-maker  Mark Arends  returning with his company  Make Mend and Do  with  Tiny Echoes  (7 October), blending puppetry, animation and music.  Julia Donaldson  and  Alex Scheffler’s beloved  Tales from Acorn Wood  (31 October to 4 November) are brought to life on stage for the first time and the ever-popular book by  Judith Kerr  The Tiger Who Came To Tea  (12 to 16 February) is back for some teatime mayhem.  

There are some brilliant nights of comedy at the Playhouse to enjoy with  Jen Brister  (8 September),  Jordan Gray  (15 September),  Babatunde Aléshé  (7 October),  Myra DuBois  (10 November),  Reginald D. Hunter  (11 November),  John Robins  (17 November),  Bridget Christie  (18 November),  Sam Avery  (22 November) and  Lucy Beaumont  (24 November).   

The regular Downstairs at the Everyman events continue with  DBY’s Murder Mystery Nights  (21 to 22 July), Liverpool Echo Comedian of the Year,  Top Joe’s Mass  (15 September),  The Goddess Project  bring their new open mic night celebrating Black Women (16 September), Liverpool’s most eclectic poetry night  A Lovely Word  (7 September, 5 October, 2 November, 7 December), music nights with  Mellowtone  (14 September, 12 October, 8 November),  Reel Tours: Mega Movie Quiz  (20 July, 21 September, 19 October, 16 November, 21 December) and  Fem de la Femme  (27 July, 28 September, Thursday 26 October, Thursday 23 November, Thursday 28 December). In July there will also be the opportunity to explore the award-winning Everyman Theatre, with a  Building Tour and Afternoon Tea  (25 to 29 July) .

Creative Director,  Suba Das  said: 

“I’m so excited by the programme we’ve created to take us through to the end of what has already been a phenomenal Eurovision year for Liverpool. Music and joy are a huge part of the mix, with our trademark anarchic actor-musician takes on  Alice in Wonderl and  this summer, and  Cinderella  at Christmastime.  There’s  also a call for solidarity and protest in  High Times and Dirty Monsters, launching a new era of co-production and collaboration with our incredible Associate Companies 20 Stories High and Graeae.   

And it’s with great pride that, in partnership with the Royal Court Theatre, London, we present the world premiere of  Cuckoo  by Michael Wynne, putting three generations of a Birkenhead family onstage – played by some truly iconic Scouse acting royalty. 

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Together with visiting shows across five performance spaces in our two buildings, encompassing even more of the most exciting, innovative homegrown work at the Playhouse Studio on Williamson Square; through to our regular music and comedy nights, it’s a season that continues our commitment to bold and brilliant theatre. I’m proud that our ongoing commitment to accessible pricing and expanding our range of access performances means even more people can join us in experiencing stories that matter, entertain and celebrate both diverse new talent and the absolute best of British theatre.” 

Further information and tickets are available now on the Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse Theatres website here or by calling the information line on 0151 709 4776.  

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