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Everyman Theatre Liverpool wins the Stirling Prize

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Haworth Tompkins won the 2014 Stirling Prize for its Everyman Theatre in Liverpool

The story starts on London’s Sloane Square where, in 1994, a relatively unknown practice was appointed to overhaul the Royal Court Theatre. Haworth Tompkins won many fans with its approach to the job, finding qualities in the theatre’s shabby interiors and, rather than eliminating them, using them to create a robust and uncompromising venue.

More followed at the Young Vic in Southwark, where it pulled together a few unremarkable buildings to create a rich, intimate, but unpretentious theatre – the building buzzes with activity day and night.

Then came temporary venues for the Almeida and the National Theatre. Each of the projects had a unique tactility and an understanding of its audience which has created some of the most successful theatre venues of the last 25 years.

In Liverpool the practice was able to use its amassed expertise during a nine-year process, in which it pulled down the existing 1964 theatre, and created a daring replacement which, surprisingly, is its first new-build venue. The Stirling Prize judges cited the Everyman Theatre as ‘a groundbreaking example of how to build a sustainable public building in a historic city centre’.

Of course, it’s not entirely a new build – it is made from recycled materials taken from a chapel that previously occupied the site. Haworth Tompkins, through close collaboration with the venue and local community, kept the features its users loved so much in the previous theatre building – the intimacy of the thrust stage, and the theatrical public spaces. Locals are pictured on the screens across the principal facade.

Every idea at the Everyman is rooted in the city and the public it serves.




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