Theatre in the north west in 2014

Reporter: David Chadderton

Dateline: 7th January, 2015

All change at the top

2014 turned out to be a year of changes in north west theatre, changes both in the personnel heading some of the region's theatres and in the theatre buildings themselves.

The new Liverpool Everyman opened in March with Twelfth Night, and has been receiving design and architecture awards for most of the rest of the year. Over in Manchester, HOME, the new joint abode for the former Library Theatre Company and Cornerhouse, has been springing up round the corner from the Palace Theatre.

We also had the announcement in the last month of the year that the former Granada Studios will be turned into the new Factory Manchester venue, named after the city's famous record label, which will provide a permanent home for the Manchester International Festival. Also at MIF, Alex Poots has announced that he will leave his post of artistic director after the 2015 festival to take charge of New York's Culture Shed, which is due to open in 2018.

Chris Honer bowed out after more than twenty years as artistic director of Library Theatre Company in March with his production of Chekhov's The Seagull and a special achievement award at the Manchester Theatre Awards. Walter Meierjohann took over as artistic director for theatre at HOME.

Greg Hersov announced his departure from the Royal Exchange Theatre after 27 years, leaving Sarah Frankcom as the theatre's first ever sole artistic director.

David Thacker has also announced that he will step down as artistic director of the Octagon in July, when he will become University of Bolton's first Professor of Theatre, but he will remain an associate artistic director of the Octagon, directing two productions per year, until 2018. Just as 2015 begins, the Octagon is discussing plans for some major changes to its building in the near future.

At Liverpool's Unity Theatre, Matthew Linley took over as artistic director and chief executive officer from Graeme Phillips, who had been at the helm of the Unity for 34 years.

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