Liverpool Playhouse

A Theatre and Its City

Ros Merkin

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ISBN: 9781846317477

Publication: November 11, 2011

In the USA? Buy the Hardback US edition
From its outset, the Liverpool Playhouse has been inextricably linked to the history of the city in which it was built. The impetus to create it came from the burgeoning civic pride engendered by the city’s growing wealth and its status as ‘second city of empire’; but its opening in 1911 was delayed by the transport strikes which hit the city. Over the following century, the history of the theatre, with all its ups and its downs, has reflected the history of Liverpool – and at times the city itself has appeared on stage as a key character. While often perceived as Liverpool’s ‘safe’ theatre, the Playhouse – from its inception as only the third repertory theatre in the country (following Manchester and Glasgow) to the dazzlingly creative period of the ‘Gang of Four’ (Bleasdale, Bond, Morrison and Russell) in the early 1980s, and up to the present day – has broken new ground and issued new challenges. Home over the years to many well known actors, including Michael Redgrave, Rachel Kempson, Robert Donat, Anthony Hopkins, Patrick Stewart, Rita Tushingham, Patricia Routledge and Richard Briers, the Playhouse remains one of the most vibrant British theatres.

Ros Merkin is a Reader in Drama at Liverpool John Moores University. She compiled and edited Liverpool’s Third Cathedral: The Liverpool Everyman Theatre for the theatre’s 40th birthday in 2004. Her research mainly focuses on regional theatre and includes The Glory of the Garden: English Regional Theatre and the Arts Council 1984–2009, which she edited with Kate Dorney, and a chapter on Liverpool Theatre in The Cambridge Companion to Theatre History.

Introduction The start of the experiment From trial to theatre Basil Dean, 1911-1913 Laurence Hanray, 1913-14 World War One and the Commonwealth William Armstrong, 1922-1944 Maud Carpenter War and the Old Vic John Fernald, 1946-1949 Gerald Cross, 1949-1951 Willard Stoker, 1951-1962 Bernard Hepton, 1962-63 Ronald Settle and Joan Ovens David Scase, 1963-1967 Kay Gardner, 1967-1969 Antony Tuckey, 1969-1975 Studio 1 Leslie Lawton, 1975-1979 William Gaunt, 1979-1981 Gang of Four, 1981-1984 Studio 2 Jules Wright, 1985-1986 lan Kellgren, 1986-1991 'It's too good to lose' Bill Kenwright, 1991-1996 Studio 3 Richard Williams, 1996-1998 Jo Beddoe, 1999-2003 Gemma Bodinetz and Deborah Aydon, 2003- Bibliography Index

Liverpool Playhouse: A Theatre & Its City remains a fine and important work that should be enjoyed by experts and enthusiasts alike.
  Theatre Research International, Volume 37/3

So this is both a book that can be dipped into for interesting quotations and anecdotes and to look at photos of actors when they were much younger and a story that can be read through, but it can also be valuable as a resource for more serious students of regional theatre, showing how it has responded to a changing social and political climate over the last century.
  The British Theatre Guide

Format: Hardback

Size: 250 x 175 mm

250 Pages

ISBN: 9781846317477

Publication: November 11, 2011

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