Belfast Telegraph

Gilbert-Ash built Everyman Theatre is shortlisted for an award

By Lesley Houston

A theatre built by Northern Ireland contractor Gilbert-Ash has been shortlisted for an industry award. The Everyman Theatre in Liverpool was picked from six projects for the EU-wide Stirling Prize, and is competing against The Shard and the Olympics Aquatics Centre in London.

The Stirling Prize is named after British architect James Stirling, with the winner selected by members of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

The Everyman Theatre is a new-build project that has maintained many of the features of the old theatre and was built using recycled materials including reclaimed bricks from an old cinema.

The theatre was constructed on the same site as the old one, and now has 400 seats, rehearsal and green rooms, public foyer, café, bar and supporting offices.

Renowned theatre architects Haworth Tompkins who are in the running for the award, spent nine years working on the project and drew on themes from previous work at the Royal Court and Young Vic. In a recent People's Choice poll by The Guardian on the question of who should win, the Everyman Theatre came out on top with 58% of the votes.

This is the third year in a row that a Gilbert-Ash constructed project has been shortlisted for the Stirling Prize following the Lyric Theatre in 2012 and Causeway Visitor Centre in 2013.

Ray Hutchinson, managing director of Gilbert-Ash, said the project was "technically advanced yet retains many of the much loved original features".

"The new theatre was constructed in the 19th century home of its predecessor and was set over several levels and half levels to maximise the space.

"The auditorium is constructed from the reclaimed bricks of Hope Hall. Hope Hall Cinema closed in 1959 but then reopened as the Everyman Theatre in 1961 so this site has been cherished by people in Liverpool for many years."

The judges said the building will stand the test of time.

"This is a building that will age gracefully, continually enriched by the patina of daily use."

Belfast Telegraph

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