Jonathan Larkin’s Cherry Jezebel will make its full stage debut at the Everyman from 8-26 March 2022, following the production’s sold out run of rehearsed readings in 2021.

A frank and hilarious piece of new writing from regular Hollyoaks writer and long-time Everyman collaborator, the production is directed by James Baker (Jerry Springer – The Opera, YANK! The Musical).

The reality of growing up Queer in Liverpool is tough. Legendary queens Cherry Brandy and Heidi Handjob, have spent years on the drag scene and Cherry carries the scars to prove it. Walking art-kid Pearl Reckless is the new queen on the block and searching for connection. Cherry has Heidi to rely on to join her at 3am on a sticky dancefloor, but what happens when you want to keep on dancing and the music’s stopped? As the queer family Cherry has forged slips through her fingers, who can our Queens turn to keep the party going?

Unapologetically Northern and Queer, Cherry Jezebel shines a light on Liverpool’s LGBTQIA+ scene and uncovers what can still be a grim and dangerous world. It’s a story about the glitter and grit of drag in Liverpool, about chosen family, belonging and survival. A riot of lipstick and split lips, of bitching and bruises.

The cast will include northern, non-binary and Trans talent in-keeping with the national Trans casting statement. The theatres are working with local LGBTQIA+ partners to create wrap around events and opportunities, including an open audition day, which took place at Liverpool’s Masquerade Bar on Sunday 14 November.

Jonathan Larkin, said:

“I started writing Cherry Jezebel about four years ago and it has evolved from a celebration of older queer voices to a piece about trauma, family and the lengths outsiders will go to find a safe space in a violent straight white world. It started out as a collection of nostalgic stories rooted in the past but now has both its high heels planted in the Liverpool of today. I’m looking forward to posing tough questions about how queer people are treated in Liverpool and beyond – but also showing how resilient and fabulous we are.

“Everyone is looking for family, for safety and for acceptance no matter how they identify, so hopefully people who might not necessarily be LGBTQ will see Cherry Jezebel and go ‘Oh yes I understand that, I’ve been in her/his/their shoes.’”

Cherry Jezebel is joined by a host of shows announced for 2022 at the Everyman & Playhouse theatres. Inspired by Nina Simone, Apphia Campbell brings Black is the Color of My Voice (11-12 February) to the Everyman, following her powerful production of Woke, which visited the Playhouse in June 2021.

At the Playhouse, comedy writer Tim Firth brings Sheila’s Island (5-9 April) – an updated take on his comedy Neville’s Island – to Liverpool and big productions of The Da Vinci Code (1-5 November), George Orwell’s Animal Farm (26-30 April), As You Like It (24-28 May) by Northern Broadsides and Jim Cartwright’s The Rise and Fall of Little Voice (16-21 May) visit Playhouse the stage.

For young audiences, Smeds and Smoos (24-26 February), The Tiger Who Came to Tea (12-16 April) and Zog and the Flying Doctors (2-4 June) all head to the Playhouse for some spring and Easter fun.

Flo and Joan (9 February), Lou Sanders (23 April), Reginald D Hunter (10 February) and joyous Jamaican musical journey Rush (4-5 February) join an already busy and exciting bill of one night shows, music and comedy, featuring Nina Conti (2-3 February), Roger McGough (11 February) John Shuttleworth (20 April), Count Arthur Strong (4 May) and Craig Revel Horwood (5 May).

Tickets for Cherry Jezebel, and all other Everyman & Playhouse productions, are on sale now.

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