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Liverpool Everyman pulls the plug on rep company after two years

Photo: Philip Vile
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The Liverpool Everyman is discontinuing its resident company of actors, hailed as a landmark return to repertory theatre when it was assembled two years ago.

In 2016, the Everyman received widespread praise when it announced it would be reviving its in-house company after 25 years. The decision came amid calls from actors such as Ian McKellen and Judi Dench for British theatre to return to the repertory system, which is now in place at only a handful of venues.

The Everyman staged two rep seasons – in 2017 and 2018 – with full-time companies, who performed in an in-house programme of plays and musicals throughout the year.

However, the venue has now announced that the rep company will be “taking a pause” in 2019, and a spokesman said the theatre will not be recommitting itself to the model in the immediate future.

“It was a bold experiment to explore a different model of producing work in regional theatre and there was much to celebrate artistically and for a growing audience, however it has proved challenging, putting a strain on our resources,” he said, adding that while “liberating,” the rep company has limited the theatre in other ways and it wants to explore other options.

Everyman and Playhouse artistic director Gemma Bodinetz added that the Everyman’s “ambition to bring adventurous, ensemble-led theatre to Liverpool remains undiminished.”

Under the new plans, the Everyman’s 2019 season will include a new production of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, which runs in April and is directed by associate director Nick Bagnall.

The cast will be led by Liam Tobin as the titular character. Tobin acted in both the 2017 and 2018 rep companies at the Everyman.

The Everyman season also includes a co-production with Hull Truck Theatre and Middle Child on Us Against Whatever, a cabaret featuring live music and karaoke.

At the Playhouse, visiting productions include a new version of Stones in His Pockets, Abigail’s Party, The Girl on the Train and Mark Thomas’ Check Up – Our NHS @ 70, which ran in Edinburgh earlier this year.

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