Liverpool stages outdoor performance festival

Published: 28 August 2020
Reporter: David Upton

St Luke's Church, Liverpool

Liverpool theatre producer Bill Elms has created a nine-day outdoor live performance festival to support the city’s devastated theatre scene.

Liverpool Theatre Festival will take place September 11–19 in association with the team behind St Luke’s Bombed Out Church. It will take place within the church walls, in the heart of the city centre and follow stringent social distancing and Government guidelines.

With no indication on when safe and financially viable indoor performances resume, Elms has been working behind the scenes to organise the festival now outdoor live performances are permitted.

The line-up includes musical theatre, drama, comedy, cabaret, monologues, and children’s shows. Capacity has been reduced, there are hand sanitiser stations and temperature checks before entry, masks will be compulsory when moving around the venue and visitors are encouraged to attend in their social bubble groups.

Shows will be limited to one-act performances, each lasts a maximum of 75 minutes to reduce audience movement, the cast and crew will socially distance and be temperature checked and there’s a maximum of four performers per production. Further safety measures will be announced.

Bill explained, “I could not just sit back and watch everything disintegrate before our very eyes. I had to do something and after a lot of research, ringing round and planning, Liverpool Theatre Festival was born.

“I would love to see the festival grow to become an annual event. St Luke’s is the perfect backdrop.”

St Luke’s has been successfully running a COVID-safe garden café-bar on site over the last months.

Liverpool Theatre Festival will include live productions of Swan Song by Jonathan Harvey, A Fairy Tale Journey Across The Mersey, Laughterhouse Comedy, The Very Best Of Tommy Cooper, Sweet Mother, Shakers by John Godber, Deathly Confessions, Matinee Musical Classics, Music Of The Night, Judy & Liza, Hurrah For The Pirate King! and Something About Simon.

Swan Song stars Andrew Lancel in a one-man show directed by Noreen Kershaw and was first performed at the Edinburgh Festival and Hampstead Theatre.