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Liverpool’s Royal Court lifts curtain on its 100th production

12 months ago

Liverpool’s Royal Court lifts curtain on its 100th production

Liverpool just wouldn’t be Liverpool now without the Royal Court, and this week the team are celebrating a huge milestone.

In 2006, Kevin Fearon and Gillian Miller decided to produce a play called Brick Up The Mersey Tunnels at Liverpool’s Royal Court. It went well and so they thought that they would produce some more. Now the venue is delighted to announce that the show coming to the main stage this month, A Thong For Europe, will be the 100th that they have produced since they took the building over in 2006.

There have been many great shows with favourites including Lennon, You’ll Never Walk AloneNight CollarBouncers and, of course, the hugely popular Royal Court Christmas shows than now attract more than 55,000 people a year.

Other highlights have been productions by Willy Russell (Stags & Hens) and Alan Bleasdale (On The Ledge) in the city’s Capital of Culture year; a stage production of Laurel & Hardy’s Sons Of The Desert and a stunning production of Stephen King’s Misery

The theatre has grown its own audience over the years, creating shows for people that wouldn’t previously have gone to the theatre. In the first two years, more than 70% of the audience surveyed said that they didn’t go to any other theatre. Now that is closer to 30% as the audience has grown and tried other venues. The Royal Court has been described by staff as “a gateway drug for theatre”. 

Royal Court

Off stage, the theatre continues to provide a hugely accessible programme for the people of Liverpool with a Youth Theatre, a community choir, an amateur theatre group and a new writing programme all of which are completely free to participants.

Chief Executive Gillian Miller has led the organisation since they took over the building in 2005: “The theatre building has been completely transformed since we began all those years ago with Brick Up The Mersey Tunnels.  Everything about the building is better from the seats, the toilets and the bars to the lighting on stage.  It’s actually difficult to remember how awful the building was when we took it over and we have certainly dramatically improved the theatre as an asset for Liverpool City Council and more importantly for our audience who have played such a key role in the theatre’s regeneration.”

Executive Producer Kevin Fearon has been another driving force behind the theatre’s success for the last 18 years: “Almost 17 years and 100 shows, it’s been an amazing team effort. From the writers, actors and creative teams on the stage, to the FOH staff looking after the audiences, the bar and kitchen staff and everyone else working here, they’ve all been an important part in our success. But without an audience a theatre is just another building. The audiences at the Royal Court are what make this theatre special. They are the extra team member that other theatres do not have.”

The theatre has seen many cast members over the years, with Andrew Schofield, Lindzi Germain and Eithne Browne appearing in the most shows over the years. Eithne was in the first show at the Court and is also in the 100th show.

A Thong For Europe is not only the 100th show, but also the celebration of the Eurovision song contest, which of course is being hosted in our home town. The night Liverpool won the right to host the Eurovision Song Contest, playwright Jonathan Harvey had an idea to pen a musical for his home city featuring hits from Eurovision history. It is going to be the biggest night out of the year!

Visit the Royal Court website HERE.

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