Everyman wins prestigious prize

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The Everyman Theatre in Hope Street. Pic © JMU Journalism

The Everyman Theatre in Hope Street. Pic © JMU Journalism

Liverpool’s newly refurbished Everyman Theatre has won the prestigious national RIBA Stirling Prize for the best new building of the year, beating off stiff competition.

Triumphing over five other buildings, including the Shard and the London Aquatics Centre, the £13.3m theatre was last night praised by the Royal Institute of British Architects for its “extraordinary contribution to both the theatre and the city”.

Artistic director Gemma Bodinetz and Executive Director Deborah Aydon expressed their delight after winning such a coveted accolade. In a statment, they said: “The Everyman was built with humanity at its heart, and intent embroidered by the 105 people of Liverpool on its facade.

“Since we reopened the warmth of feeling from the public to their much-loved Everyman – given a daring and brilliant rebirth from Haworth Tompkins – has been almost overwhelming.”

The rebirth of the building, which opened to the public in March this year, had been almost 10 years in the making and includes a 44- seat recreation of the trademark wrap-around theatre. Among the rest of the changes included a foyer cafe space and a new incarnation of the Everyman Bistro.

The Hope Street rebuild, designed by Hayworth Tompkins, has been praised by the judges for its re-use of materials, taking bricks from the original converted 19th Century chapel and marrying them with modern ideas. Hailed as a 21st Century theatre that “celebrates the past”, it has successfully combined new and old giving a feeling of fresh familiarity.

Ms Bodinetz said: “Haworth Tompkins have delivered us a building that is sustainable, technically first rate and with unparalleled levels of accessibility for a theatre.

The Metropolitan Cathedral and Everyman Theatre in Hope Street. Pic © JMU Journalism

The Metropolitan Cathedral and Everyman Theatre in Hope Street. Pic © JMU Journalism

“On a small site with many competing needs and technical necessities they overcame every challenge with zeal and imagination to create something which is a beautiful as it is functional.

“Ten years ago when we embarked on this journey with Haworth Tompkins we could never have imagined it would end in winning the RIBA Stirling Prize: they have designed a building that supplies joy beyond expectation to every visitor and those of us lucky enough to work there.”

The new Everyman, with its facade featuring 105 life-sized panels of images of Liverpool residents, has already won the RIBA North West Building of the Year award and has been named World Architecture News Best Performance Space 2014.

About Megan Hill, JMU Journalism