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New operator for Epstein Theatre

And it's Liverpool Sound City

Published on December 9th 2011.

New operator for Epstein Theatre
Pic by Ant Clausen

LIVERPOOL Sound City is to take over the running of The Epstein Theatre, after a competitive tendering process.

The former Neptune Theatre, on Hanover Street, will operate as a music venue, but the team, led by Dave Pichilingi, say they will use the building to showcase cutting edge art and pop culture ranging from drama productions to art exhibitions. They also said they aim to ensure the Epstein can be utilised by community groups from across the city.

Interested parties gather on the Epstein/Neptune stage at a press announcement (click to enlarge)Interested parties gather on
the Epstein/Neptune stage
 (click to enlarge)
The theatre was originally opened as Crane’s Music Hall in 1911, and was a popular location for recitals and performances.  It was renamed Crane Theatre in 1938.

In July, a £1million refurbishment of the theatre was completed which saw the Hanover Street venue brought up to 21st century standards and renamed The Epstein Theatre in honour of former Beatles manager Brian (Could have easily been the Allan Williams Theatre, ed).

Following the completion of the work, Liverpool City Council searched for an operator to run the venue and following a competitive process, which also saw the management team behind the Royal Court publicly throwing their hat in the ring, Sound City’s plans to rejuvenate the venue with a strong programme of music came out on top.

During the tender process the company set out their aspirations for the Epstein, which involve transforming it venue into a location where entertainment can be accessed by a diverse audience, contributing to the culture of the city and creating jobs for the people of Liverpool. 

Pichilingi told Liverpool Confidential that they plan to use a large second floor ante-room at the “prow” of the ship-shaped building as a bar/food area which, he hopes, will become something of a cultural hub for like-minded individuals. No operator for that side of things has been confirmed yet but discussions are well under way with one or two well known names in the city’s food and drink sector.

Liverpool City Council’s cabinet member for culture and tourism, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “This is an exciting new era in the long history of this venue.  It’s fantastic to see all the hard work pay off and know that soon it will be brought to life and take its rightful place once again as a key part of this city’s cultural scene.

“The standard of bids submitted during the procurement process were exceptionally high and it’s encouraging to know so many established organisations could see the potential of the Epstein.

“Sound City’s vision was inspiring.

Details of when the theatre will open its doors will be announced in the New Year, although Confidential understands that the first really big event will be Liverpool Sound City itself next May.

The Grade II listed  theatre, which has a capacity of 385, was bought by the Liverpool Corporation in 1967 to be "run by the people, for the people" and was the hub of am-dram theatre for decades.  It closed its doors in 2005 as it failed to comply with safety regulations and was in need of major refurbishment.

The £1million investment in the venue consists of £750,000 funding from the city council and a further £250,000 from Hanover Estate Management Ltd.

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Angie Sammons shared this on Facebook on December 9th 2011.
AnonymousDecember 9th 2011.

Good luck to them - could go very well if they keep the cold corporate hands away....

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