timeline

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

Gargling with Jelly was written by Brian Pattern. Based on nonsense verse, it was dramatised for children for the Christmas play and was a hit for all ages.

Artistic Director: John Doyle

Director: Wendy Harris

"She leapt up on the telly, She pirouetted on the cat, She gargled with some jelly, And spat in Grandad's hat."

-Brian Patten

A huge Everyman production of a rarely performed play which celebrated everything from pantomime to circus – and used 5,000 balloons in the process.

Artistic Director: John Doyle

Director: John Doyle

"Musical triumph on a great scale: Enjoy a musical rarity when the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool stages the witty Candide... rarely performed because it demands a massive cast and huge scenery. But, as ever, the Everyman is doing things its own way."

-Daily Mirror 28/05/92.

Mel Smith’s musical comedy was a fast, furious and gloriously silly show that took the audience into a world of rhyming slang, gangsters, barmaids, muscles and medallions. It was also an apposite choice for a theatre facing an uncertain future and unable to offer the cast or crew a contract until the week before rehearsals were due to start.

Director: Peter Rowe

The real dramas at the Everyman are taking place in backroom and boardroom as the future of the theatre is decided…As the current crisis focuses the minds of the theatre-goers on the Everyman’s impressive past, the show has enough elements to fit happily into its thirty-year tradition. In true Everyman style, the atmosphere begins as soon as you enter the theatre, with ushers dressed as jockeys. Then one of the actors starts gambling with the audience – for the chance to win a seat on stage.

-Penny Kiley, Liverpool Echo, 14/5/93

Following a 3 month closure and its re-emergence as the New Everyman, the first in-house production was a hymn to the blues, told by 3 women thrown together in a 1930s Chicago hotel room. It was also the production which marked the theatre’s 30th birthday and the debut of Peter Rowe as artistic director.

Artistic Director: Peter Rowe

Director: Peter Rowe

"It was good to see the Everyman Theatre full last night, with an atmosphere of anticipation and celebration... and what an appropriate production - Blues in the Night, a celebratory piece with music that leaves you tingling."

-Angela Heslop, Radio Merseyside.

A revival of award-winning writer Jim Hitchmough’s comedy which had first been staged at the Playhouse Studio before becoming a television series.

Artistic Director: Peter Rowe

Director:Noreen Kershaw

"Jim, the writer, described it to me as a love story in which the word love was never used. "

-Liverpool Daily Post, 06/03/95

A showing of the KLF film, made in August 1994 on Jura, in which Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty burnt a million pounds, provoked lively audience responses. Whilst Drummond and Cauty (along with their spokesman Chris Brooke and their roadie Gimpo) sat at a table in front of the film, the audience start by laughing, then heckling and slow hand clapping. Some leave; others yell. People want to know if it’s art. When the lights go up, chaos reigns.

Artistic Director: Peter Rowe

Director: Alan Goodrick

"Money to burn, Was it a crime? Was it madness? Was it Rock 'n' roll? Was it an obscenity? Was it art?"

-Liverpool Echo, 24/11/95

Written by Frankie Lyon’s son, Gary, the play told the story of Tommy Cooper’s early years entertaining the troops in Eygpt, where he starred with his forgotten sidekick Frankie. The play included comedy gags and sketches based on Frankie’s reminiscence to his son (he went on to become a sheet metal worker in Leeds) – and a magic routine using 2 doves.

Director: Peter Rowe

“They met in Egypt in 1946 through ENSA…both performing a solo act. But Tommy feels it might be beneficial if they throw their lot in together, and become a double act. The act is certainly not equal with Cooper dominating and Frankie becomes more of a straight man. And here we have the conflict, as Cooper the perfectionist rails against Frankie, not wanting to take limelight away from him. Gary Lyons’s drama gives a fascinating insight into the mind of this highly talented comic, and leaves us with the question: was he a genius or a monster or a little of both?”

-Angela Heslop, BBC Radio Merseyside.

Andrew Cullen’s Scouse posited a reality of Merseyside as an independent state separated from the United Kingdom. The first new play commissioned, developed and produced by the Everyman since the theatre re-opened 3 years previously, it harked back to Liverpool based black comedies. Scouse was an instant hit, appealing once more to a broad base of non-theatregoing people making a return run in the same season.

Artistic Director: Peter Rowe

Director: Peter Rowe

"We're not asking for concessions; we are asking to be left alone. You English have never wanted Liverpool 's affections; you have only wanted her taxes, her labour and her river. When will you get the message? We don't want you here. "

-Andrew Cullen, Scouse

The theatre’s third ‘Beatles show’ was more of a ‘feel good’ celebration of the band’s music than either John, Paul, George, Ringo and Bert or Lennon.

Artistic Director: Peter Rowe

Director: Carl Chase

" Hot Pepper: The feelgood factor HAS arrived - at the Everyman Theatre, at least. Says administrator Kevin Fearon: 'We've had people laughing, crying, hugging each other'"

-Liverpool Echo, 30/08/96

Described as a Boys from the Blackstuff for the 90s, Tony Booth made his first stage appearance at the Everyman playing Jack, the 60-year-old rebel, one of three house-painters decorating a dingy Dublin tenement for a dodgy contractor. The run of the play included a benefit performance for the striking Liverpool Dockers.

Artistic Director: Jo Beddoe

Director: Robert Delamere

"Tony Booth plays Jack, 60, a rebel who has seen it all, one of three house painters….the other two are younger, more in tune with these dog-eat-dog times of screwed-down wages and no job security. But Jack rebels when he is passed over for the job of the foreman, hoping to conjure the spirit of solidarity past, meeting instead only the grimmer realities of today…If the spirit of Robert Tressell’s The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists seems to hang lightly over its gritty humour and piercing insights, then all concerned take it as a compliment "

- Gillian Reynolds, Daily Telegraph, 27/9/97

Liverpool born, Helen Blakeman went on to win the most promising playwright of the year (George Devine Award) with the black comedy Caravan. The cast were also from Liverpool and this was one of two productions produced "in house", yet one that had started life at the Bush theatre in London.

Artistic Director: Kevin Fearon

Director: Andy Farrell

" Helen returns to the theatre where she started: next week is special - even in the already meteoric career of Liverpool writer Helen Blakeman. She returns to the theatre where she started as an usher for the Merseyside premiere of her first play..'The fact that it's one of only two plays being home-produced this season is icing on the cake'."

-Joe Riley, Echo, 24/04/98

Elsie and Norm (played by Pauline Daniels and Roger Philips) are a North of England working class couple in their late middle-age. The play is set in the front room of their home at 41 Laburnum Avenue, where, one night, after a visit to their local library and tired of watching television and playing Trivial Pursuits, they decide to stage a production of Macbeth.

Director: Richard Williams

" Perhaps because the plot is straightforward (and bloody good) and perhaps because the characters and time scale are equally accessible in a shorthand way, and perhaps because we all like a well aimed blow at high culture, Shakespeare’s Macbeth has been parodied more than any other of his plays. The Reduced Shakespeare Company do the decent thing and give us their Al Capone version. Ken Campbell began his involvement with the play twenty-five years ago with his Bar Room Macbeth which is a shortened version to be played unannounced to the surprised drinkers in any pub…Ken’s latest adventure with Shakespeare’s masterpiece is the Wol Wontok Macbed blong Wilum Seskpia which is a pidgin English version due to premiere at the Royal National Theatre in July…Half way between the serious and comic lies Macbird the famous anti-Vietnam version. Tonight’s version, a northern married couple’s down to earth attempt or assault on the play, is in a great tradition of homages to the Bard’s best adventure story.

- Richard Williams, programme note.

In a joint production with the National Theatre, Jonathan Harvey produced a play which tackled loss, guilt, death and post-Hillsborough stress as well as the painful process of coming out. It marked Gemma Bodinetz’s first play for the Everyman.

Artistic Director: Jo Beddoe

Director: Gemma Bodinetz

I always wanted to do something about Hillsborough. I was just aware that if you mentioned it to people outside Liverpool it was associated with Heysel and hooliganism. You know they didn’t even know how many people died.

-Jonathan Harvey, Independent on Sunday 27/9/98

The National theatre aims to be truly national. We want to take our work all over the country (and the truth is if we hadn’t been subject to frozen funding for the last five years, we would have been able to do even more touring)…I am delighted that Liverpool’s own Jonathan Harvey wrote Guiding Star under commission from the National, and that the production is to be given birth “at home” in the Everyman, where the tradition of presenting relevant and challenging new work remains strong. The National theatre is both a specific and a generic term, and I am proud of the knowledge that in this production, which moves to the National Theatre in November, we share our national identity with the Everyman and Liverpool.

-Trevor Nunn, programme note