Dubbed as the “friendliest theatre in the city” (admittedly by themselves but who are we to argue?), Liverpool’s Royal Court has become a symbol of everything Liverpool stands for.
Located on Roe Street, the theatre puts on predominantly Liverpool focused shows. The shows feature local talent with sets built right here in the city, making it a real jewel in our cultural crown.
We were lucky enough to catch up with Liverpool’s Royal Court to discuss what makes them stand out from the crowd, their recent renovations, and where they like to eat in Liverpool.
How do you continue to innovate to keep people interested in going out to the theatre?
Our mission at the Royal Court is to entertain and give people a really enjoyable night out. Unlike a lot of theatres, the vast majority of our work is created by us, here in Liverpool, with local writers, performers and staff. We strive not only to create top quality work on stage, but also to make the whole experience friendly and inclusive for all our customers.
Many of our audience aren’t traditional theatre-goers so a lot of our work is focussed on making theatre accessible, largely through comedy and music. However, we’re lucky that we have a very loyal audience who have grown with us as a theatre and will now also take risks on shows they may never have considered before their first visit.
What do you personally love most about Liverpool as a home to the arts?
There’s so much variety in the Liverpool theatre scene and a great degree of innovation. The arts in Liverpool is thriving and there’s a really positive trend for creating new work and experiences. From the Fringe venues like 81 Renshaw St right up to the mainstream theatres like the Empire and Royal Court, there’s something for everyone to see or get involved in.
How does Liverpool’s Royal Court stay ahead the against other theatres in the city?
One of the reasons the Liverpool theatre scene thrives is because each theatre has its own focus and demographic. There’s something for everyone and we’re not all competing for the same audience. We like to think that the Royal Court offers something unique which works alongside the other theatres rather than aiming to get ahead of them.
Talk us through the process of how a show comes to life from script to the stage
A lot of what we do here is new writing, which means our process starts long before a script, often with an idea, sometimes even a title! We’ll then commission a writer to come up with a play from this idea and employ a director, go through a few drafts of the script, workshop it with a group of actors before finally scheduling it into the theatre.
There’s always a great atmosphere on the first day of rehearsals, as everyone comes together for the first time after months of planning and you get to hear the script come to life. Then after three weeks in the rehearsal room, the show moves into the theatre and you get to find out what it’s like in front of an audience!
Why do you think the arts is important to Liverpool as a city?
The arts is a great way of bringing people together, of creating shared experience. Whether that experience is learning something new, witnessing something unique or just being in a room where everyone is laughing together. Shared experience helps in building community which is something Liverpool is great at creating and nurturing.
What has been the most successful / well received show that the Liverpool’s Royal Court has ever put on?
The show that is probably most associated with the Royal Court is Brick Up the Mersey Tunnels. It’s so popular that it’s been back seven times and people always want more!
Tell us more about the renovations that have taken place...
We’ve recently completed phase 2 of our refurbishment scheme which saw a complete transformation of the outside of the building in the form of a brand new foyer, box office, cafe and stage door. In addition, the bar and public spaces on the 1st and 2nd floors have been totally refurbished and a customer lift installed giving access to all levels.
It’s made some major improvements to the building and really improved the customer experience, but there’s more to do and we’ve already started on the fundraising for Phase 3 which will see improvements in the Balcony level with new toilets and bar as well as changes to backstage.
For somebody that doesn't know, what can they expect from Liverpool’s Royal Court?
A great night out. The Royal Court is all about giving customers a great experience – fantastic pre-show dining, top-quality productions and a relaxed and inviting atmosphere.
Where is your favourite venue in Liverpool to grab a bite to eat and drink?
I really like the laid-back atmosphere at The Pen Factory, and the food is brilliant.
What can we expect from Liverpool’s Royal Court throughout 2016 and beyond?
More great entertainment and lots more improvements to the building.
To find our more about Liverpool's Royal Court, head over to their website and check out what's on.
Time for more Utility?