The 60's. The 70's. The 80's. The 90's. The 00's.

Carl Chase made the move from taxi driver to actor via his first appearance at the Everyman in Maynard Collin’s one man show about Hank Williams. Backed by The Drifting Cowboys, it told the story of Hank’s life conceived as a flashback at the moment of his death in 1953.

Director: Ken Campell and Terry Canning

Re-living moments of his life, perhaps remembering them as they might have been rather than as they were, he justifies his life in terms of his art – writing and singing songs that forced themselves by their truth into the hearts and consciousness of millions of people. The evening was conceived in tribute to the spirit of Hank Williams and the dignity that always surrounded this greatest country singer of all time. It is based on the author’s perception that the songs of Hank Williams were in reality prayers to a God he searched for all his life, and hopefully found at the moment of his death.

-Maynard Collins, programme note

The Warp was a twenty-hour odyssey through British alternative culture from the 1950s to the late 1970s and used much of the Everyman’s space as a number of stages, uprooting the chairs from the theatre and encouraging the audience to sit on unused parts of the set. First shown at the ICA as one production, the Everyman’s expanded, revised, and amended version of The Warp was split into ten parts and shown over ten weeks – a soap opera of hippies, wizards, new age cults, and personal discovery. The Warp was a success (playing to audiences of 70%), and the audience responded well to the episodic format, though it was not without its detractors. Controversial scenes involving Eithne Hannigan in plays Two and Three resulted in slurs, allegations of moral degeneracy, and the actress in question head-butting a Daily Mail journalist. One councillor called for the Everyman's funding to be stopped as a result of the sexual nature of the play.

Artistic Director: Ken Campbell

Director: Ken Campbell

"I think the most significant thing I did was The Warp - out of all the plays that have come my way I think The Warp's the best one. It's my favourite."

-Ken Campbell, Artistic Director

Born from a chance meeting on a train of world Disco Dancing Champion Julie Brown and prospective Everyman Artistic Director Ken Campbell, The Disco Queen was seen as the Everyman's alternative to a traditional pantomime in the 1980-1981 season. Billed as a modern fairy story, the plot was more or less improvised on the spot by Campbell during his interview for the post of Artistic Director.

Artistic Director: Ken Campbell

Director: Ken Campbell

"Disco for the Voyeur? No - the Disco Connoisseur will be relieved to find that the whole audience is free to take to the stage with Julie [Brown, world Disco Champion] for a Disco Dancing Contest of joyous proportions."

-From the Press Release

The War with Newts used a documentary style to transform Capek’s 1940s book into a modern day tale. It was innovative in set design, using banks of televisions and a water pool, the final scene including a rubber dinghy bobbing about with Malcolm Muggeridge and Robin Day.

Artistic Director: Ken Campbell

Director: Ken Campbell and Pip Broughton

"And now here is the Newts:... one of those rambling, exotic pieces of theatre that should have the curious flocking to the place. On offer you have a 2ft water pool inhabited by actors playing newts; a bank of six television screens for slides, and an array of impersonations... "

-Philip Key, Daily Post, 03/04/81

Bob Eaton’s play about Lennon’s life, staged barely a year after his death, hit the heart of Liverpool. Eaton based the play on memories of those who had known Lennon and intended the piece as a tribute to John and a celebration of the songs he had written. It transferred to Broadway and kicked off Mark McGann's career.

Artistic Director: Bob Eaton

Director: Bob Eaton

"We have worked long and hard putting it together. We weren't looking for Box-office success, although that is very rewarding, our real intention was to put something together that really paid homage to the man and put his life into a kind of perspective...Really this show is for the people of Liverpool. They seem to have taken it to their hearts. "
-Bob Eaton, Liverpool Echo, 04/12/81

Brian Jacques' first play for the Everyman celebrated life on the streets of the city – where people went to celebrate and protest together - and the sense of community which had been lost with the arrival of high-rise blocks.

Artistic Director: Bob Eaton

Director: Bob Eaton

" Brian Jacques brings to life every character your Mam an Dad ever told you about (or warned you against), The women and kids, the bobbies and baddies, the characters and comedians. They all interweave in song and story. Scouse in the raw, liberally spiced with the flavour of the times. National Service. Compulsory purchase. Unions and docks. Life and death. Love and violence. So don't knock, walk right in, get yer feet under the table and muck in (yer at yer ninny's). PS: Also includes God."
-Press release for Brown Bitter, Wet Nellies and Scouse

A bleak vision of what Liverpool might look like in 1984, this grim warning by author Phil Whitchurch was a stark reflection of the previous summer's riots and desperate violence. The publicity campaign included a phone call to Liverpool Garston's Conservative MP Malcolm Thornton to ask if he knew the theatre was putting on a ‘seditious’ play encouraging young people to riot. It wasn’t quite what the play was doing, but Thornton rose to the bait - claiming the play was subversive and irresponsible - and the theatre soon had TV, radio and press clamouring for interviews.

Artistic Director: Bob Eaton

Director: Bob Eaton

"We are trying to ring alarm bells to show that if we ignore the events of last summer and ignore this so called positive policing, we are going down the path of more violence."
-Phil Whitchurch, Newsline, 27/03/83

This play documented the Liverpool Typist’s Strike – a subject which the leader of the council thought was hardly a suitable for a play. It featured an entirely female company (with the overwhelmingly male bosses being portrayed by coat-stand puppets) and acapella singing.

Artistic Director: Bob Eaton

Director: Roger Hill

" I can hardly think of a less suitable subject on which to base a play. "
-Alfred Stocks, Chief Executive, Liverpool City Council; Letter to Roger Hill

Having been offered the opportunity to direct Infirmary Tales, Glen Walford persuaded Bob Eaton that she would rather do Shakespeare and produced the first of her Everyman Shakespearean productions. Her Midsummer Night’s Dream was full of Eastern promise complete with rope bridges stretching over the audience, stilts, slated walls and a Balinese influenced orchestra.

Director: Glen Walford

"What a dream is here! It may seem whimsical for the director Glen Walford to set Shakespeare in the Far East. But think about it. His dream world is no more classical Greece than it is Elizabethan Warwickshire. If we are going to fantasise, why not do it in the style of Bali or Sarawak? It works astonishingly well. Alien rhythms from weird instruments underscore the words; wild cries of whooping and howling and baying punctuate the senses…It is a world that releases stunningly unihibited performances from the whole company of extrovert actors."
-Robin Thornber, Guardian 22/1/83

"It’s a mixture of Bali, the Philippines and Borneo – a feeling of heat, sensuality and rhythm rather than a specific location. The play is not a fairy tale. Parts of it are black, wicked and sexy."
-Glen Walford, Liverpool Echo, 12/1/83

Infirmary Tales, an evening of agonised glee, had its roots in New Year 1982 when Phil Whitchurch had gone on a “celebration race” out of the Everyman and around the block. Slipping on ice, he broke his collarbone and spent New Year’s Eve in accident and emergency – emerging with the idea for a play. Local writers were asked to contribute ideas and from there the 1983 Christmas shown was born and included tales written by Phil Whitchurch, Brian Jacques and Alan Bleasdale.

Artistic Director: Bob Eaton

Director: Bob Eaton

"I dreamed up a format based on Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and invited local writers to contribute to it. I even wrote a Prologue in rhyming couplets. But when the tales began to arrive, it soon became clear they weren’t going to fit into my tidy little scheme."
-Bob Eaton, programme note

Local playwright Willy Russell had already filmed Our Day Out in 1978 with Pedr James when they used to refer to it as ‘the Hollywood script’ as all the strands came home to rest. Now, he wanted to turn it into a musical. Along with Bob Eaton and members of the Youth Theatre, it became a sell-out success.

Artistic Director: Bob Eaton

Director: Bob Eaton and Kate Rowland

"The Everyman's musical version of Willy Russell's play makes for a fast, funny and curiously moving jamboree of an evening...The romantic world of West Side Story is plainly nor lost on Liverpool 8. Nor is its tear-jerking potential. Handkerchiefs were out in abundance... it is the kid's evening and they radiate the good time they are having and make a highly talented streetwise and surprisingly disciplined team. "
-Carol Wilks, The Guardian, 09/04/83

For Glen Walford’s first show as artistic director, she revised a show she had earlier created for the London Bubble. Moving the theatre back in time 32 years to its earlier function as the Hope Street Cinema, the audience (supposedly sheltering from an air raid) were entertained by the Hope Hall Concert Party who offered a series of sketches, songs and music which commented (both comically and seriously) on the Blitz.

Director: Glen Walford

"I hope that the Blitz Show will bring to the Everyman the same kind of community audiences that found themselves together in the shelters – people of every age, class, race."
-Glen Walford, press release

An Italian farce written by Frank Dunlop and Carry On actor Jim Dale based on a Molière play which involved cooking over 3 miles of pasta during the run.

Director: Glen Walford

"Posters for the production show a character collecting a plate of spaghetti in the side of the face. “That could be a member of the audience if our timing goes wrong” Ms Walford giggled…Some of the audience seats would actually be on the set of the waterfront café – and they are likely to become part of the action. “We call them the happy punters” she laughed. Whether they collect a faceful of spaghetti remains to be seen."
- Philip Key, Daily Post, 23/3/84

In Glen Walford’s The Tempest, the island became a circus ring peopled by clown and acrobats, complete with Ariel encased in a hamster-like wheel and the lover’s suspended in a skeletal crescent moon high above the action. It also re-introduced the Everyman audience to Cathy Tyson, who had first appeared as part of the youth theatre in Willy Russell’s  Our Day Out and here made her professional debut at the theatre.

Director: Glen Walford

"No-one really knows what type of actor Shakespeare had in mind when he sat down to create the role of the old magician Prospero in The Tempest. But it is safe to assume that he didn’t consider it for a 6ft 2in black American with a name like Ricco Ross."
Daily Post 16/1/84

Bob Carlton had devised Return to the Forbidden Planet for the Bubble Theatre earlier in the year and the Everyman used the play to fill a suddenly empty slot when they were unable to get the rights for Jack Schaefer’s classic western Shane. Unknown to them, they had backed a surefire hit and this spoof science fiction rock musical which combined echoes of old-B movies with 50s and 60s classic hits (and which was billed as Shakespeare’s forgotten rock and roll masterpiece) went on to have a very long shelf-life.

Artistic Director: Glen Walford

Director: Bob Carlton

" But how do we define it? imagine Star Trek at Stratford for The Tempest. what's more imagine it in the form of comic strip characters. Add to that a most professionally executed live musical backing from the pop charts of the past 25 years and you will begin to appreciate the several levels on which this show operates. "
-Joe Riley, Liverpool Echo, 28/10/83

The Everyman’s contribution to the city’s Garden Festival was Bob Carlton’s play about Liverpool hero Bill Shankly – which famously became known by the cast and crew as You’ll Never Work Again. It featured the Scottish comedian Chic Murray as the ghost of Shankly who helped the heroine in her search for tickets for the Milk Cup Final.

Artistic Director:Glen Walford

Director: Bob Carlton and Chris Clough

"It featured the infamous Scottish comedian Chic Murray, as the ghost of the legendary Bill Shankly. Chic, who was quite elderly, would enter the stage via star traps stage left and right. on more than one occasion he would miss his cue, the pyrotechnics would go off but no ghost would appear, leaving egg on the faces of the cast on stage. Once the show was up and running Chic would get bored during the afternoons and would often wander into the theatre's hairdressers to get the three hairs on his bald head trimmed, much to the amusement of the hairdressers who he would spend the hour entertaining."
-Karen Berg, Wardrobe

Back to top

Glen Walford managed to court controversy throughout her span as artistic director but the poster for her punk Threepenny Opera had all sides screaming. Complaints about the poster inciting violence against women might have meant their withdrawal from display by Merseyrail but they also ensured that the play performed to a full house throughout its run and the poster itself sold out at the Everyman box office.

Artistic Director: Glen Walford

Director: Glen Walford

"the play is meant to shock bourgeois audiences out of their complacency. It is about violence, the exploitation of men and women and the decadence of society can hardly believe that it is going to encourage violence against women. The girl in the poster is brandishing a knife in a most aggressive way...No matter, it has got people thinking and talking."
-Glen Walford, Liverpool Daily Mail, 17/10/84

Back to top

The emotions in Romeo and Juliet reminded Glen Walford of Grand Opera. So she added some music. Not quite the music of Grand Opera but rather a film score underpinning the text and written by Paddy Cuneen. And, the music was played by the actors; in this version Romeo plays the trombone and Juliet, the drums. Nor was the music the only novel aspect of this production; sword fighting was replaced with karate and judo. It was a version that emphasised what it was like to be young, in love and in Italy.

Director: Glen Walford

Verona’s bloodwashed streets ringing with ecclesiastical chant, scenery of despoiled opulence complete with crumpled heaps of scarlet velvet…her version of the play is stamped on the entire production which is wholly committed and originally individual.

-Merete Bates Murphy, The Stage, 21/2/85

Trevor Rhone was co-author of The Harder They Come and this two-hander, a serious farce about selfishness and taking people for granted, might have had a very Jamaican context but it was still deemed to have much to say to the people of Liverpool.

Director: Han Duijvendak

To emigrate or not to emigrate? That’s the problem facing Jim and Gloria as they debate the advantages of their home in Jamaica compared with the golden promise of life in the United States of America…And it’s when Jim and Gloria try to get out of Jamaica that the trouble – and the fun – really starts. After nightmarish dealings with immigration “consultants” and currency smugglers, to say nothing of an imminent police raid and the strip-search at the airport, Gloria finally makes it to Miami and a marriage of convenience to a US citizen so that she can smuggle Jim in later. Jim thinks it’ all sewn up – but he’s in for quite a few shocks when Gloria returns to Jamaica….

-Press release

Glen Wlaford’s third Shakespeare offered a brutal and disturbing Macbeth in which she made associations with the sort of nightmarish future which could happen if “deranged power freaks” decide to press the button. Set amidst Claire Lyth’s devastated landscape, it was accompanied by primitive, eerie and evocative sounds created by Paddy Cuneen, who made all the instruments for the show.

Director: Glen Walford

There is a lot of wood in Claire Lyth’s setting for Macbeth. Wintry withered saplings surrounded in dry ice dominate the multi-level stage in leafless anticipation of Birnham Wood’s hike to Dunsinane. All very moody stuff. There is even a murky pond that Glen Walford’s Everyman production uses to occasional strikingly good effect.

-Carolk Wilks, Guardian, 1/2/86

Glen Walford pared down Tosca to its essentials and presented a highly theatrical version of the opera set in a comic book fantasy land.

Director: Glen Walford

"It’s always annoyed me no end that opera is seen as an elitist form and that if you haven’t got loads of money to spend, then you can’t go. And I’m very intimidated by opera snobs..."

-Glen Walford, Radio 4 (7/10/85)

Having no understudy for this one woman play, the writer Willy Russell unwittingly made a pact with Glen Walford that he would stand in if anything happened to Noreen Kershaw. Unfortunately for him, when Noreen had appendicitis, he was the first person called. So the play continued with a beaded man playing a 43 year old housewife for three weeks.

Artistic Director: Glen Walford

Director: Glen Walford

"Heroic stand-ins are a familiar part of the sentimental mythology of the stage, but this is one that will take some beating...It may sound absurd but when this tall bearded bloke talks about getting his husband's tea ready, even though he ducks doing the business with the egg and chips, it's totally believable."
-Robin Thornber, Guardian, 24/04/86.

Glen Walford’s version of Taming of the Shrew was transported to a North Africa, complete with plastic palm trees, bead curtains, camels, motor bikes and yashmaks.

Director: Glen Walford

If Will ever meets Glen Walford in some celestial globe, he’ll undoubtedly slap her on the back for this production because it lights up his play from the inside rather than merely imposing a style on it.

-Francesca Turner, guardian 7/2/87

Jogging along on a bus from El Jadidah to Rabat; tight and tense and angry at being so continuously stared at either hostiley or lustily; isolation total – battling against fear; I am a threat to the men and the women. I dress demurely (yes, really!), I behave meekly (yes, really, really!) but however much I respectfully obey manners, custom, etiquette, the very fact that I am not Arabic, travelling on my own as a woman sets me apart…I stare at the bleached and beautiful Moroccan countryside; little villages – the men playing cards, smoking, the women serving them, working and what surfaces? “The Shrew”. In order to highlight the women-as-property, Kate’s anger etc we need a setting where oppression of women is accepted and taken for granted. So it has to be Islamic.

-Glen Walford, Director

Inspired by the 1986 Festival of Comedy where she had run a school for comediennes, Kate Rowlands persuaded Trevior Griffiths to adapt his classic 1975 play for an all female cast. The individual stand-up routines were workshopped in rehearsal.

Artistic Director: Glen Walford

Director: Kate Rowland

"I loved every minute of doing Comedians as it was obviously a subject I held dear to my heart, and it was an all-female production, and it was my first non-musical theatre job..."
-Pauline Daniels

As a ‘subtle’ pointer to the current political situation in Britain, the Everyman’s version of Brecht’s The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui cast the central character as a woman. It further emphasised its locality by eschewing the originals’ setting of Chicago – choosing instead an inner city with docks.

Artistic Director: Glen Walford

Director: Han Duijvendak

" If the Everyman really believe - as they claim they do - that their audiences are not regular theatregoers, then choosing to stage a discomfiting play like Arturo Ui shows great confidence in their ability to do what Brecht wanted: 'To educate and entertain' and provide a theatre 'to be laughed in.' This production may not make revolutionaries of us all, but it certainly reminded us of the horror at the heart of farce."
-Francesca Turner, Guardian, 14/10/86

True to form, Glen Walford's Cabaret enthralled audiences once more. Rodney Ford’s set designs allowed the audiences to be part of the play, sitting at tables in the Kit Kat Club.

Artistic Director: Glen Walford

Director: Glen Walford

"Another triumph for Glen Walford and the raunchy Liverpool Everyman house style, this is one of the most deliciously decadent productions of the Kander and Ebb musical you can ever hope to find. Rodney Ford's setting, all opalescent art deco lamps, turns the Everyman into the Kit Kat Club...with the audience spilling onto the stage from night club tables and the action backlashing into the auditorium. "
-Guardian, 10/10/87

Glen Walford’s 6th Shakespeare production was seen by the Daily Post as even “more offbeat” than most of her productions. With Cathy Tyson as Ophelia, and a cast of only 9 (and accompanied once again by a Paddy Cuneen score) this Hamlet was a recreation of a mind in turmoil, heavily influenced by work Glen Walford had been doing in Japan. It also courted controversy when a simulated rape of Ophelia by Hamlet led to protests.

Director: Glen Walford

Shakespeare plays don’t require near pornography to attract audiences.

-Ben Jeffrey, National Campaign for Law and Order, Liverpool Echo 13/2/88

Smokey is how glen describes the look of the production with an expanded lighting rig often sending out sharp slithers of hard light to illuminate particular facial expressions. “It is as near as we can get to the freedom of film with its close-ups and scene fades. In fact, I am treating it in a very filmic way.

-Glen Walford interview with Philip Key, Liverpool Daily Post 4/2/88

In Glen Walford's last season Noreen Kershaw directed No Holds Bard in which the Royal liver Shakespeare Company brought their collection of ‘Bill’s best bits” to the Liverpool stage on the North-West leg of their “Stuff Brick-laying There’s Money in the Arts” world tour. The farce packed out the theatre and with just two actors they managed to cover all the parts, Schofield claiming "I do make a lovely Desdemona"!

Artistic Director: Glen Walford

Director: Noreen Kershaw

" It was just me and Mick Starke and Noreen directed it and they let us do what we wanted to do. And we'd make stuff up and put a gag in and try and make it work, make it funny. It was a really good time because we were on our toes all the time and it really packed them out. That was real good fun. "
-Andrew Schofield, actor

Glen Walford’s final production as Artistic Director was a “quack-zen” inspired version of A Winter’s Tale in which the rich image of ritual was enhanced by the use of glass musical instruments, made specially for the production by Pilkington’s Glass.

Director: Glen Walford

The colours are iridescent. Shell-pink – opaque, translucent, a bubble…A drew-drop; a tear; a blossom…This iWs a dream land – a metaphorical, allegorical what-you-will land. We are not worried by geography specifically. We are not worried by chronology or the normal rules of human logic…Winters Tale poses questions; we ask the audience to meditate…I am interested in tableaux. A fascinating picture which tells a story which comes to life; frozen art… SHELL PINK FOR THE WHOLE AUDITORIUM?

-Glen Walford, director’s notes

The premiere of Solzhenitsyn’s play set during the coldest winter in the Second World War – and performed during an unseasonably hot May, complete with the cast sweltering in blankets and at least three layers of clothing. The ‘victory celebration’ of the title were those held by a Russian regiment who had managed to push back the German invasion.

Artistic Director: John Doyle

Director: John Doyle and Linda Dobell

" Within two steps into the theatre the entire company were dripping with perspiration and to be greeted by a full-house who, without exception, were using their programmes to cool themselves. A few minutes after that, the stage was covered with pools of actors' sweat as we all 'acted' how freezing we were in this Russian Winter."
-Ron Meadows. actor

Written by Pravda’s scientific correspondent, Gubaryev, the play was set in a high-level radiation sickness hospital at the time of the Chernobyl disaster. It formed a part of John Doyle’s International Season.

Director: John Doyle

Designing for the first time in Britain, Alexander Borovsky contains the action within a completely stainless steel research establishment, marked out in cubicles…It symbolises the triumph of sweeping scientific powers over human caring. The stage is bathed in ultra-violet light giving the white coats of the scientists an eerie glow as they wait for the victims…An illuminated panel lights up to count the arrivals and deletes the numbers as the patients die.

-Marjorie Bates Murphy, The Stage, 7/6/90