Practice will work up plans to refurbish sister venue of its Stirling Prize-winning Everyman Theatre

Liverpool Playhouse facade

Source: Haworth Tompkins

Concept design for upgrading Liverpool Playhouse

Haworth Tompkins has been appointed to prepare a feasibility study to refurbish Liverpool Playhouse – sister venue to the practice’s 2014 Stirling Prize-winning Everyman Theatre.

Built in 1866, the Playhouse spent its first 55 years as a music hall before being converted into a theatre as the home for Liverpool Repertory Company. The rep’s roll of honour includes Anthony Hopkins, Michael Gambon, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Patricia Routledge, Michael Redgrave, Rachel Kempson and John Thaw.

Haworth Tompkins will spend the coming months working with city-based MGMA Architects, theatre consultants Charcoalblue, and landscape architect Layer Studio on environmentally sustainable major refurbishment options for the grade II*-listed venue.

The practice said the goal was to demonstrate the potential to improve the environmental credentials of a listed building and its accessibility, as well as acting as a catalyst for a cultural regeneration of the surrounding area. It said the result could be an “exemplar for similar-age theatres across the world”.

Liv Playhouse Williamson Square

Source: Haworth Tompkins

Concept sketch for the redesign of Williamson Square


Mark Da Vanzo, chief executive of Everyman and Playhouse operator Liverpool and Merseyside Theatres Trust,  said Haworth Tompkins and its team had presented an initial proposal that would honour the Playhouse’s heritage at the same time as “bringing the theatre into the 21st century”.

He added: “We can’t wait to see what might be possible.”

Haworth Tompkins director and Playhouse project lead Lucy Picardo said the practice was “thrilled” to be working on the commission.

“We already have a strong attachment to Liverpool through our work at the Everyman, led by my co-directors Steve Tompkins and Roger Watts, and much experience working with listed historic theatres such as Bristol Old Vic and Theatre Royal Drury Lane,” she said.

“We’re looking forward to delivering an ambitious, sustainable, practical yet joyous vision for the Playhouse and Williamson Square.”

The project team is due to report back to LMTT with its capital refurbishment feasibility study in spring next year.

Liverpool Playouse Reading Tom Flickr

Source: Reading Tom / Flickr

Liverpool Playhouse is close to Radio City Tower, designed by James A Roberts and completed in 1969. That structure is now grade II-listed.