Tread Some New Boards
Liverpool has many wonderful theatres. From the Everyman to the Empire, there are huge and critically acclaimed shows that come to the city’s biggest stages.
Yet the city also has a successful and thriving theatre scene that you may not know as much about. Smaller arts organisations, festivals and theatres that are packed to the rafters but are outside the Big 8.
Here’s the top 5 shows you should see this autumn in some of our smaller, but perfectly formed, theatre spaces.
Three Plays by Alsop Drama for Liverpool Irish Festival – 22/23 October
A community theatre group that’s been going for 63 years they’ve presented more than 100 plays, including ‘Death of a Salesman’ and ‘Play it Again, Sam’. This autumn, as part of the Liverpool Irish Festival, they’re taking on quite an impressive feat. Over two days at World Museums Treasure House Theatre, they present three one act plays; ‘Riders to the Sea’ by JM. Synge (25 mins), ‘The Shadow of the Glen’ by JM. Synge (30 mins) and ‘Purgatory’ by WB. Yeats (15 mins).
Each play explores the theme of ‘the undead’ of Celtic legend, mysticism and myth, especially among the Irish peasantry. Irish culture has a strong heritage of theatre and these one act plays each deal eternal themes and deliver a strong message. The performances run from 11am until 4pm on 22/23 October and it’s free.
Full details here.
The Lantern Theatre, Scouse, A Comedy of Terrors – 17 November – 15 December
There could never be a better time for this tale of political spatting, posturing and a decent injection of Scouse humour. The plot kicks off with The Liverpool People’s Party calling for the city to be recognised as an independent republic by the UN, the EU, NATO and UEFA. The UK government objects and sends in the army. Hilariously funny, and, to be honest, possibly a glimpse into our not too distant future, the play was first performed at the Everyman Theatre in February 1997. If you’ve never been to the Lantern Theatre, then you should. Dedicated to developing new talent it’s provided a stage for first time writer and performers with fresh ideas and plenty of passion.
The Epstein Theatre, Liver Birdsong: The Liverpool Blitz Musical
A brand new musical by Tony Bradley and Rebecca Myers, perfectly timed for the 75th anniversary of the Blitz. The Liverbirds are Maggs, Carla, Daisy Mae and Lil battling more than just the Nazis. Heartwarming, with 18 brand new songs performed by a live band it’s sure to offer a special night. Standing on the corner of Hanover Street, just by Liverpool ONE, the Epstein Theatre is Grade II listed. Don’t let it’s small exterior fool you, the Theatre has over 300 seats and a grand interior. Well worth a visit!
Dadafest at Unity Theatre – 17 November to 3 December
Challenging ideals and celebrating disability culture, Dadafest returns this autumn for its thirteenth year. Theatre plays a huge role in the festival’s programme and is, without fail, excellent, thought provoking, often funny and awe-inspiring. This year’s theatre includes Assisted Suicide: The Musical, starring the disabled activist, actor and comedian Liz Carr, who has chosen the world of musical theatre as the backdrop to exploring the complex and controversial subject of assisted suicide. SWAGGA gives center stage to those often spoken over, ignored, misrecognised and snubbed while Can I Start Again Please? Explores childhood trauma and tells parallel narratives in parallel language using English and british sign language. Watch the promo video here.
Explore the full Dadafest programme here
Royal Court Theatre, Father O’Flaherty Saves our Souls – 14 October to 12 November
OK, Royal Court isn’t small. And Royal Court is packed to the rafters at every show. But it’s a fantastic theatre that does even more to champion Scouse writing than Phil Redmond in the 80s. This autumn everyone’s favourite priest is back with his own show. A maverick priest delivering, possibly, his final Mass, the show scores a 3 out of 5 on the Royal Court’s peerless ‘Can I Bring my Gran-O-Meter” for swearing, general rudeness.
For more on theatre in Liverpool click here.