The refurbished Epstein Theatre.
A famous Liverpool theatre is set to reclaim its place amongst some of the city's most famous cultural landmarks. Following a £1 million investment, the refurbishment of the former Neptune Theatre is now complete.
Now restored to its former glory, the theatre also has a new name. The Epstein Theatre is named in honour of Brian Epstein, the former manager of The Beatles.
Leader of Liverpool City Council, Cllr Joe Anderson joined owner David Ramsey and guests in the first official tour in July. The Neptune’s closure in 2005 left a gaping hole in Liverpool's cultural scene.
Cllr Anderson stated at the time: "I’m absolutely delighted that our dream to bring it back into use is now officially a reality. The closure of the Neptune left a gaping hole in Liverpool’s cultural scene and its absence has been sorely felt by performers and audiences alike
In renaming the venue, the council have been able to pay tribute to a man who gave the city their greatest performers and kick started the careers of many other acts.
A spokesperson for the Epstein family said: "It’s a wonderful homage to Brian. He loved the theatre and knew this one well, he would often catch a performance
Having performed at the theatre as a boy, Mr Ramsey is understandably thrilled to see it reopen. He said: "I'm absolutely delighted and I'm very proud. It's essential to have it back open
The owner believes it is fitting that the council chose to dedicate the theatre to Mr Epstein, adding that "it's a great tribute to Brian Epstein. He deserves this and more
The Liverpool Corporation took over the 98-year-old building in 1967 to be run 'by the people, for the people' and amateur performers in the city will be pleased to know that Cllr Anderson is keen to maintain that sentiment.
Les James, a member of Alsop Drama Group, performed at the old theatre for over 35 years and believes that it is vital for amateur dramatic groups across the city. He said:"the theatre is very important to groups like Alsop need this sort of theatre to perform in. It's important because it will be used for people of the city to enjoy
To bring it up to modern day standards, the theatre now has a new lighting throughout and a new stage management system which producers to communicate with the crew without disrupting the performance.
Despite the changes, the grade II listed building has still managed to retain some of its original features. The original chandelier has been refurbished and is fully operational once more.
Nobles Construction were responsible for the restoration and the Liverpool based company are equally happy to see the project finished.
Peter Linford, director of the company said: "the Neptune has always been one of Liverpool’s cultural jewels. We’re delighted to be handing the building back to Liverpool City Council as it enters the next step in its history