Topping out ceremony at theatre

Mayor Anderson at topping out

The redevelopment of Liverpool’s Everyman Theatre on Hope Street has reached a milestone.

The Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson joined theatre chiefs, funders, builders Gilbert Ash and architects Haworth Tompkins to celebrate the Topping-Out of the new building. The main structure of the building now completed and the development remain on schedule.

The new Everyman, which is being rebuilt in a £28m development is scheduled to reopen early 2014 with the opening season to be announced this autumn.

Mayor Anderson said: “This is a landmark moment in the history of one of the most influential theatres, not only in the region, but in the UK. The topping-out ceremony is an important milestone in the redevelopment of the Everyman. For more than a year there has been a huge amount of work taking place behind the scenes, so it is fantastic to see changes taking place and know that we’re a step closer to having a new, inspirational venue that will work with the best talent to create world class theatre here in Liverpool.”

Artistic Director Gemma Bodinetz said: “We are poised to complete a new Everyman that harnesses its unique spirit and also provides this treasured part of Hope Street with an integrated youth and community resource, writers’ hub, rehearsal space and a bistro in the basement complete with wood burning stove! The building will be fully accessible and with natural ventilation throughout most public spaces, aspires to be one of the most sustainable theatres in the country. In short we have tried to take the extraordinary and particular ethos of this beloved theatre and make sure it’s housed in a building that will welcome and dazzle audiences of all ages for generations to come.”

Executive Director Deborah Aydon said: “Liverpool is now a confident city, buoyed up by the invention and ambition of its cultural life, and its artists and audiences deserve 21st-century resources. The new building will be a crucible for Liverpool artists and offer a vibrant experience for residents and visitors. Gilbert Ash and Haworth Tompkins have absolutely delivered what they promised and we are delighted with what is now a tangible transformation of our much-loved theatre.  It is safe in their hands and we can’t wait to see it become even more amazing over the coming months.”

Haworth Tompkins Director Steve Tompkins said: “It is a privilege to be working with such an exceptional team of people on this great Liverpool project. The new physical home of the Everyman is emerging on Hope Street thanks to the efforts of Gilbert Ash, a builder of the highest standards, and the Topping Out ceremony marks an important milestone in the journey towards re-opening night.” 

The new Everyman will include: –
• A new 400-seat theatre which recreates the dynamic and democratic ‘thrust’ auditorium
• A new incarnation of the legendary Everyman Bistro
• Technical facilities which will fully support the Everyman’s acclaimed programme of work
• A fully accessible, welcoming and inspiring building which acts as a ‘creative hub’
• Dedicated space to house the theatres’ extensive and growing work with their Youth Theatre, schools and community groups
• Front-of-house, catering and bar facilities which will act as a destination in their own right and enhance the extraordinary vibrancy of Hope Street
• Rehearsal space and production workshops
• A high specification for environmental sustainability including natural ventilation

 Major investment for the new theatre was given in the form of £16.8m from Arts Council England, £5.9m from the European Regional Development Fund and £2.5m by the Northwest Regional Development Agency. A donation of £200k from the Peter Johnson Foundation marked the transition to inviting local people to get involved via the Everyone for the Everyman appeal.  Since then over 1000 donations have been received and over £215k has been raised. There is still £500K to raise towards the new building and a Talent Fund.