Theatre is saved by bistro deal

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The Independent Online
THE Everyman Theatre in Liverpool, which closed three months ago, is to reopen next month with an award-winning production of King Lear.

The Everyman Supporters Club, a pressure group which has the playwrights Willy Russell and Alan Bleasdale as patrons, has helped arrange a deal to save the theatre. A new company will lease the auditorium from David Scott and Patrick Byrne, owners of the Everyman Bistro, who bought the theatre from the liquidator.

The theatre, which will not have its own repertory company, closed after its board of directors, the Arts Council and local authority representatives failed to reach agreement over its artistic policy.

The Arts Council and the five local authorities said government spending restrictions meant not enough funding was available to maintain a year-round producing role for both the Everyman and the Liverpool Playhouse.

Patrick Byrne, whose bistro had continued to trade in the theatre basement, said at a press conference yesterday: 'Neither the building nor the city were the same without the Everyman Theatre but now we can look forward to the start of a new era and a whole range of exciting acts.'

The Everyman will reopen on 15 February with King Lear, presented by the Liverpool-based company Kaboodle. Its spring programme consists of productions by touring outfits - the issue which led to the dispute between the former board and the Arts Council.