Almost opposite Liverpool’s Catholic Cathedral stands – for a short while longer – an undistinguished building of huge cultural importance.
The former Hope Hall, a nonconformist chapel of 1837, after many transformations, became the Everyman Theatre in 1964. This was the cockpit of artists, writers and playwrights in the great wave of Liverpool’s prominence that followed the success of the Beatles.
The poets Adrian Henri, Roger McGough and Brian Patten, the playwrights Alan Bleasdale and Willy Russell, and a cluster of actors including Bernard Hill, Anthony Sher, Julie Walters and the late Pete Postlethwaite were associated with the building before and after a further rebuilding in 1975-7. The premieres of Willy Russell’s John, Paul, George, Ringo…and Bert (1974) and Shirley Valentine (1986) took place at the Everyman Theatre.
The building was also celebrated for its Everyman Bistro, founded in 1970 by Paddy Byrne and Dave Scott in the basement. Here was as good a buffet as you could find in Liverpool, and a convivial atmosphere without rival.
Now the Everyman is to be replaced by an entirely new building, opening in 2013, and you can watch the process, day by day, at http://www.everymanplayhouse.com/content/Home/AboutUs/NewEveryman/LiveCam.aspx. Sooner or later, you’ll see the queue for the reopening.
Sarah Horton and Ronnie Hughes’ film tribute to the Everyman Bistro is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EibgxJnWMKU&feature=player_embedded.
The opening season at the new Everyman begins on Saturday March 8th 2014 with Twelfth Night: http://www.everymanplayhouse.com/show/Twelfth_Night/1031.aspx.