U.K.'s Everyman Will Feature Twelfth Night Plus World Premieres of Michael Wynne's Hope Place and New Kneehigh Show
By Mark Shenton
Liverpool's entirely rebuilt Everyman Theatre is to reopen in March 2014, with a slate of productions that will include artistic director Gemma Bodinetz directing Twelfth Night and world premeires of Michael Wynne's Hope Place and Kneehigh's new show Dead Dog in a Suitecase (and other Love Songs), based on John Gay's The Beggar's Opera.
They will be preceded by two events the weekend of March 1 and 2: On March 1, "Lights Up" will be a parade and people's celebration, created in collaboration with the Liverpool Lantern Company and Walk The Plank; and on March 2, the Everyman throws open its doors with a public housewarming, to welcome everyone in to make themselves at home.
Designed by Haworth Tompkins and funded by the National Lottery from Arts Council England, European Regional Development Fund and the Northwest Regional Development Agency, the new Everyman is a reincarnation of the 400-seat theatre with its dynamic "thrust" auditorium. In a press statement, executive director Deborah Aydon commented, "After ten years' planning and two years' construction we are thrilled to be able to announce the Everyman’s reawakening. We have a very busy few months ahead, getting ready for that extraordinary moment when the people of Liverpool can take possession of their beautiful new theatre. The reaction to the exterior has been really wonderful and we can't wait to have the Everyman fully back to life, thronged with people making it their own."
Artistic director Gemma Bodinetz added, "The Everyman has historically been a theatre that has represented the renegade and generous spirit of this city. It has held its arms wide open for the broadest section of humanity. It has always been fearless. It has always had a twinkle in its eye. When choosing the productions for this inaugural season I wanted plays that expressed these qualities; rebellious stories infused with wit and love. Stories for everyone that each in their different ways celebrate individualism."
The season opens with Twelfth Night, beginning performances March 8 prior to an official opening March 12 for a run through March 29. Gemma Bodinetz directs a cast that features two members of the celebrated Everyman company of 1974, with Nicholas Woodeson playing Malvolio and Matthew Kelly as Sir Toby Belch. The cast also includes Neil Caple, Pauline Daniels, Paul Duckworth, Adam Keast, Adam Levy, Jodie McNee and Alan Stocks.
Michael Wynn'e Hope Place, specially commissioned by the theatre from the author of The Priory that was seen at London's Royal Court, will begin performances May 9 prior to an official opening May 14, for a run through May 31. It is described in press materials as a story of myths, memories and secrets. Rattling around in a house on Hope Place, Maggie searches for the truth within a sea of family folklore. The play marks the first time one of Birkenhead-born Wynne's plays has been produced in Liverpool.
Finally, the inaugural season in the reopened theatre will see Kneehigh premiere Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and Other Love Songs), a radical new version of John Gay's The Beggar's Opera at the theatre, beginning performances June 21 prior to an official opening June 25, for a run through July 12. It will subsequently transfer to Kneehigh's Asylum in Heligan Gardens in Cornwall from the end of August, before a run at Bristol Old Vic later in the year. The production is written by Carl Grose and directed by Mike Shepherd, with music by Charles Hazlewood, and is described in press materials as a twisted morality tale of our times.
Public booking opens Nov. 28. To book tickets, contact the box office on 0151 709 4776 or visit www.everymanplayhouse.com.
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