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Everyman & Playhouse announce full spring/summer 2020 season

  • First cast members announced for new writing Our Lady of Blundellsands at the Everyman
  • Shandyland co-production with Northern Stage
  • Exciting project with Liverpool writer Molly Taylor
  • Family shows, re-imagined tales and exciting one-nighters join already announced shows SIX and Ghost Stories in the season

 The first wave of casting has been announced for Jonathan Harvey’s Our Lady of Blundellsands, as the Everyman & Playhouse announce their full 2020 spring summer season filled with new works, big titles, family fun and re-imagined stories.

 The Liverpool-born Coronation Street writer initially debuted the script for Our Lady of Blundellsands at a play reading at the Everyman in 2016. Having worked with Everyman creatives to finely tune the script especially for the Everyman stage, the hilariously twisted comic drama makes its premiere from 6-28 March.

Performing at the Everyman for the first time since 1979, Annette Badland will play the role of Garnet – the weary sister of the unravelling Sylvie. The Birmingham-born actress recently performed in a Shakespeare’s Globe production of The Winter’s Tale that was broadcast live to over 400 cinema’s in 2019. Annette also appeared as Babe Smith in Eastenders.

Joining Annette are Liverpool actors Tony MaudsleyNathan McMullen and Gemma Brodrick. Tony is best known for his role in Benidorm as hairdresser Kenneth du Beke and Gemma makes her Everyman stage debut having appeared in the ITV mini-series Cilla in 2014. Nathan returns to the Everyman, following his role as a young Peer Gynt in Nick Bagnall’s Everyman Company 2018 production of The Big I AmThe Olivier Award-winning Matt Henry is also announced for the production, who won Best Actor in a Musical for his 2016 performance in Kinky Boots.

Our Lady of Blundellsands opens at the Everyman in March and tickets are on sale from Thursday 14 November. Tickets are available at: www.everymanplayhouse.com/whats-on.

Bold new works, re-imagined tales, shows for the family and exciting one-night shows join Our Lady of Blundellsands in the 2020 season.

As the Everyman & Playhouse continues to bring audiences new works by local and regional artists, a co-production with Northern Stage sees Shandyland at the Everyman from 27 May to 7 June. Based around a family-run northern pub, Shandyland  is a story about the frustration of abandoned working-class communities. The work joins I Think We Are Alone (11-15 February) – another new piece of writing that visits the Playhouse by Sally Abbott, co-directed by Kathy Burke and produced by theatre company Frantic Assembly.

Looking into the nature of football fans, a community-led participatory project by local playwright Molly Taylor will be developed with the support of the Everyman & Playhouse’s New Works department for the Everyman stage. ROAR will culminate in a performance at the Everyman in June 2020, and the project is looking for football fans to be a part of the action in the New Year.

The Playhouse welcomes big titles with some of the very best in national touring theatre visiting in 2020. Already announced and on sale for the season is the West End smash hit SIX (3-7 March), alongside classic tales The Woman in Black (27 January – 1 February)An Inspector Calls (4-8 February) and Dial M for Murder (19-23 May)The Playhouse also welcomes back Ghost Stories (31 March – 4 April), where the production made its world premiere in 2010.

Bold and innovative theatre companies return to the Playhouse for 2020, as well known stories will be re-imagined on the Playhouse stage. Imitating the Dog are back following their production of Heart of Darkness, with an ambitious remix of Night of the Living Dead (18-22 February)La Navet Bete bring their hilarious brand of slapstick comedy to Liverpool with The Three Musketeers: A Comedy Adventure (28 April – 2 May).

 With a re-working of J.M. Barrie’s (Peter Pan) delicious farce Quality Street (17-21 March), Northern Broadsides return to the Playhouse for 2020. New artistic director Laurie Sansom directs his first production for the company, with a playful Yorkshire show that inspired the name of the nation’s most popular chocolates!

Families once again take centre stage next season at the Playhouse. For older children, Children’s Theatre Partnership’s adaptation of the modern classic Holes (24-28 March) by Louis Sachar features puppetry by the designer of Joey in War Horse. Julia Donaldson’s Zog (8-11 April) and bedtime favourite Oi Frog & Friends (26-29 February) will be brought to life for young families this spring.

The very best in comedy and one night shows head to Liverpool, as Ed Byrne (14 May), Mark Thomas (13 & 14 March) and Adam Buxton (16 May) join the already announced John Shuttleworth (25 January) at the Playhouse in the New Year. At the Everyman, Clive Anderson (23 May) visits with his first ever solo tour. Irish novelist Roddy Doyle (10 March) will take to the stage for a special in conversation event at the Playhouse and Stacey Dooley (20 February) also visits for an in conversation night, which is close to selling out.

Blending folk music and theatre, an exciting production of one man’s journey from poverty and unemploymentThe Ballad of Johnny Longstaff (14-16 May) completes the season with a visit to the Everyman. Written by folk trio The Young’uns and directed by The Last Ship director Lorne Campbell, the production follows the footsteps of a working class hero who chose not to look the other way when the world needed his help, and took part in some of the momentous events of the 1930s.

Gemma Bodinetz, artistic director at Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse, said: “We have an extraordinary spring season this year featuring a wealth of new writing and the very best of touring work from around the country.

“We are proud to produce the world premiere of Our Lady of Blundellsands by Liverpool playwright Jonathan Harvey, directed by Nick Bagnall and featuring a stellar cast. Also at the Everyman is Shandyland – a remarkable new play by Bruntwood Prize-winning playwright Gareth Farr.

“There are so many great shows to mention for young and old it’s unfair to single any of them out, but we are particularly thrilled to welcome the phenomenon that is Ghost Stories back to the Playhouse where it was first launched in 2010.”

Newly announced shows will go on sale to the general public at 12pm on Thursday 14 November. For more information and to book, visit www.everymanplayhouse.com/whats-on.

Miracle on 34th Street: The Musical announced as 2019 Liverpool Playhouse Christmas production

Miracle on 34th Street
  • Gemma Bodinetz to direct musical based on the classic Christmas film
  • Runs from 7 December to 4 January 2019
  • Features classic Christmas songs including It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas
  • Tickets are priced at £10-£40 and on sale from 12pm on Monday 29 April

 To mark exactly eight months until Christmas Day, the Playhouse have announced magical musical Miracle on 34th Street as their 2019 festive production.

Directed by Everyman & Playhouse artistic director Gemma Bodinetz, Meredith Willson’s adaptation for the stage is based on the 1947 film written by George Seaton that was re-made for screen in 1994.

Featuring timeless festive songs like It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like ChristmasMiracle on 34th Street: The Musical is a twinkling seasonal treat for the whole family.

In a bustling New York, six-year-old Susan and her mother celebrate a Christmas of common sense. No whispers, no secrets, just cold hard facts wrapped in paper destined for the bin.

As the city’s cash tills ring out their money-making chimes and shoppers join a race that lasts from Thanksgiving until New Year, an old bearded gentleman turns their rational world – and the city’s cut-throat commercial spirit – upside down.

Gemma Bodinetz, artistic director at Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse, said: “Over my years as artistic director I have really loved directing musicals and we have discovered our audiences really enjoy watching them.

“This year at the Playhouse we are celebrating Christmas with sparkle, song and Santa with the festive favourite Miracle on 34th Street. I can’t wait to bring a little magic to Liverpool with a show that I think will delight the whole family.”

As part of their Christmas celebrations, the Playhouse will be working closely with Radio City and other partners to bring a little magic to the city centre this Christmas.

 Miracle on 34th Street: The Musical runs from 7 December 2019 to 4 January 2020. Tickets are on sale from 12pm on Monday 29 April and prices range from £10 to £40. Discounted tickets for people under 26 are also available via our Young Everyman Playhouse (YEP) membership scheme.

 Once again the Playhouse’s Christmas production will have British Sign Language, captioned and audio described performances. The production will also include an autism friendly/relaxed performance.

 For more information visit www.everymanplayhouse.com/whats-on or call Box Office on 0151 709 4776.

 

Everyman announce further casting for major production of Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd

Cast of Sweeney Todd
Cast of Sweeney Todd

Cast of Sweeney Todd

The Everyman & Playhouse have announced further casting for associate director Nick Bagnall’s anarchic production of the musical Sweeney Todd.

Actors announced to join Liam Tobin who plays Sweeney in Nick Bagnall’s production

  • Production runs from 12 April to 18 May
  • Tickets are available now
  • Two more actors still to be revealed

Former EastEnders star Kacey Ainsworth will play the role of Mrs Lovett. Known for her performance as Little Mo in the soap, Kacey is currently in her fourth series of the ITV detective drama Grantchester. This will be Kacey’s first production at the Everyman.

Also announced is returning Everyman Company 2017 member Dean Nolan. He played the roles of Motel, Mercutio and Sluplianek in the 2017 productions of Fiddler on the Roof, Romeo & Juliet and Conquest of the South Pole. Dean returns to the Everyman to play rival barber Pirelli.

Paul Duckworth will play Judge Turpin, following his performances in Everyman Company 2018 shows Paint Your Wagon and Othello. Paul returns to the Everyman after his recent role in the Royal Court’s production of Scouse Cinderella over Christmas.

Playing The Beadle is Mark Rice-Oxley. The Merseyside actor is back at the Everyman for the first time since performing in the 2014 production of Bright Phoenix 

Keziah Joseph is cast in the role of Johanna Barker. Keziah recently visited the Playhouse in 2017, playing Mowgli in a major UK touring production of The Jungle Book.

The role of Tobias will be played by Shiv Rabheru and North-Wales actor Bryan Parry completes the current group of casting in the role of Anthony.

The new cast members join the already announced Liam Tobin, who plays Sweeney Todd in the production, with one more actor still to be announced.

Nick Bagnall, associate director at Everyman & Playhouse, said: “I’m really excited to be working with this group of actors for Sweeney Todd. It will be great to see old Company members, as well as some new faces, on the Everyman stage.

“It’s a show that packs a real political punch and the music is incredible, but also the story’s so fascinating – it’s gruesome, dangerous, dark and funny.

“Most productions of Sweeney Todd have around 25 to 30 cast members, but our ensemble will include just nine talented actors who can sing for this production. Adding to the fact that we will be performing it in the round, this will be a stripped-back, rough, hard-edged, soulful and a show tailor-made for Everyman audiences.”

Sweeney Todd will be performed at the Everyman from 12 April to 18 May. Tickets are on sale now and available at: https://www.everymanplayhouse.com/whats-on/sweeney-todd  or by calling Box Office on 0151 709 4776.

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Liverpool Everyman, Director Nick Bagnall: “I had a woman sharply point at me and decry: ‘There’s no room for rock and roll in Shakespeare’”

Nick Bagnall

Nick Bagnall

We are all familiar with Romeo and Juliet. The Everyman Company and actors from Liverpool’s Young Everyman Playhouse are uniting to celebrate Shakespeare’s brutal tale of love and family. Director, Nick Bagnall has come out of rehearsals and is in a buoyant mood. “Rehearsals are going fantastically well. I’ve done a big edit of the play and made bold decisions with the casting,” he says. “Time is short, so I’m filling the production with ensemble and song.”

George Caple and Elliot Kingsley play the star-crossed lovers, in a conceptual reimagining involving a gender switch of Romeo and Julius. There has been a lot of gender-blind casting in Shakespeare over the past year or so – Tamsin Greig played Malvolia at the National, The all-female trilogy at the Donmar; Glenda Jackson’s King Lear  at the Old Vic and many more. This contemporary view of the play will be applied to Bagnall’s fast paced production where bloodshed on the streets and arranged marriage are common place.

Romeo & Juliet

Romeo & Juliet

Is Bagnall prepared for backlash from traditionalists? “I’m never surprised by the purists. They always say something that is slightly rigid. Ultimately, when I’m making work I like to be anarchic and playful,” he says defiantly. “The young people who are in the company – of which there are over forty – are incredible and they are blown away by the gender swap. It’s rather beautiful and its given it a vitality that I really hoped it would. I relocated Shakespeare to the swinging 60’s in my recent production of Two Gentlemen of Verona at The Globe,” he laughs. “I had a woman sharply point at me and decry: ‘There’s no room for rock and roll in Shakespeare’ – I’m totally prepared for backlash!”

What is fantastic about this production is that it is made with and for young people. The Liverpool Everyman’s children, and young people are at the heart of the show’s process. “Young Everyman Playhouse (YEP) are the best youth theatre in the land”, he says. “They are an incredible bunch of young people. I have to say that, for them, just being in a room with professional actors, it’s very clear how much they are learning; they bring a unique energy to proceedings. My biggest aim with this is about demystifying Shakespeare for young people and to create something that they can relate to when it comes to living in Liverpool in 2017.”

We’ve all seen the story of Juliet and Romeo test the patience of audiences more than perhaps any other Shakespeare play. So why is Bagnall’s any different, why should we come along? “Because its open-hearted, sexy and vital storytelling,” he says. “I have a fantastic cast and an electric bunch of young people. It’s rock and roll… Oh and there’s even a bit of Indian dub-step.”

Romeo and Juliet runs Saturday 27 May to Wednesday 7 June at Liverpool Everyman

Rehearsal images Gallery below. Photographs by Brian Roberts