Sneak Peek: Inside The New Everyman

New Eveyman (c) Brian Roberts

Ahead of their re-launch this weekend, we take a sneaky peek behind the doors of the new Everyman…

I remember the old Everyman theatre very well. I’ve been an audience member for years; preferring their programme of original writing and contemporary performance to the more traditional offerings of sister venue the Playhouse. After graduating from university, I also got to work there as an usher. It was a fantastic place; the staff are too lovely, and getting to watch the plays for free (and meeting the actors) was a total bonus.

The building was, however, was in dire need of some tender-loving-care. Everything was a bit moth-eaten, tired and broken; access (like the the lift) was crap; and the backstage areas were too small and struggled with large sets and tech teams.

“Architects Haworth Tompkins past projects have included award-winning theatre spaces like London’s Royal Court, Young Vic, Bush and The Shed”

10 years of planning and two years of rebuilding later, this much-loved local institution has been given a complete makeover, courtesy of architects Haworth Tompkins, whose past projects have included award-winning theatre spaces like London’s Royal Court, Young Vic, Bush and The Shed; the Ustinov Studio and the Egg children’s’ theatre in Bath; and specialist art spaces, including the Hayward Gallery, the RCA’s painting building and exhibition halls for Venice Biennale.

The Everyman’s new building includes a 400-seat thrust auditorium (including a brand-new circle, echoing the original 1964 venue, yet keeping the initmate vibe), a community theatre studio, rehearsal space, basement bistro, cafe and bars. The main facade on Hope Street incorporates a major public art work based on 105 full size portraits of local people; people who love the Everyman and who are now immortalised in lights and etched metal.

The design team also includes theatre and acoustic consultants Charcoalblue, whose other projects include the Courtyard and Royal Shakespeare theatres in Stratford-upon-Avon; structural engineers Alan Baxter & Associates; Waterman Building Services covering mechanical and electrical design; Gillieron Scott Acoustic Design; project managers GVA Acuity; quantity surveyors Gardiner & Theobald, CDM co-ordinators Turner & Townsend, and Clancy Consulting for BREEAM.

After being completely demolished, 25,000 of the original chapel bricks were saved by Sloyan Doyle in 2011 and re-incorporated into the new building. The construction team was led by Gilbert Ash, who also built Belfast’s Lyric Theatre and Waterfront Hall, the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre and the RAF Bomber Command Memorial in London.

Our initial impression is that the Everyman finally has the building it deserves; keeping the original features that made the theatre unique, but with a bit more ‘va-va-voom’. See what you think this weekend.

New Eveyman (c) Steve Aland

Above: new dressing rooms, and below: new bar and eating spaces. Natural materials and autumnal colours give the place warmth

New Eveyman (c) Brian Roberts

Below: the new foyer with impressive, geometrical open staircases and slices of bold colour and clean lines

New Eveyman (c) Brian Roberts

New Eveyman (c) Steve Aland

Below: 105 portraits of local Everyman fans can be clearly seen in these specially-commissioned, etched metal shutters

New Eveyman exterior (c) Christian Smith

Laura Robertson, Editor

Lights Up, Saturday 1 March: Follow the parade (led by Liverpool Lantern Company, Walk the Plank and Sense of Sound), leaving the Playhouse at 7pm, leading to the Everyman around 7.30-7.45pm to celebrate lighting up the new theatre

Housewarming, Sunday 2 March: Doors open at 11am-5pm; backstage tours every 15 minutes from 11.15am

See our photo gallery of the Everyman’s refurbishment

Posted on 26/02/2014 by thedoublenegative