A Theatre for Everyman

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The legendary Everyman Theatre in Liverpool has nurtured the careers of many actors - from Robert Donat and Richard Burton, to Julie Walters, Anthony Sher, Jonathan Pryce and Matthew Kelly. Founded in 1964 by 3 young idealistic students, the theatre has fostered generations of heavyweight acting talent in the decades ever since - and even in the decades before - as it used to be a music hall, then a cinema before becoming the Everyman. Closed two years ago for a £28 million pound refurbishment, the theatre opened its doors again in March this year - having been completely re-built from the bottom up.

Capturing the spirit of a theatre through the voices of some of the writers, actors and directors who worked there - "A Theatre for Everyman" tells the story of one of the most exciting theatre spaces in England. We take a tour round the new building as they prepare for their first production; we hear how in the early days, actors had to manage coping with rats in their dressing rooms and getting changed in boiler rooms; how they had no money and had to make do and mend in order to get a play on - and how the spirit of the Everyman engendered a sense of family and belonging, in everyone who worked there.

Throughout the programme we also capture the spirit that is Liverpool - recalling the days of hardship and austerity in the 1970s; the Toxteth Riots of the 1980s and the Capital of Culture in 2008 - which went some way in helping to get the city back on its feet.

It's a story of originality and imagination, of ups and downs, triumphs and tragedies, crises and comebacks - but most of all, it's a story of extraordinary talent, of inspiration, of originality that all makes up of one of the most exciting theatre spaces in England.

Producer: Angela Hind
A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.
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