Three Merseyside theatres – the Everyman & Playhouse, Royal Court Liverpool and Unity, have announced a long-term commitment to working together, as theatres in the region begin plans to re-open.

The three theatres will use the lifting of lockdown restrictions as an opportunity to work more closely with each other. Collaborative working will benefit the arts community in Liverpool, including local freelancers, and audiences who visit the theatres.

To launch the new collaboration, the theatres have announced a joint on-sale date for 2021 giving audiences the opportunity to buy tickets for their favourite venues, and maybe try a few new ones, all on the same day.

Productions that will go on sale include the return of Jonathan Harvey’s Our Lady of Blundellsands to the Everyman from 17 Sept – 9 Oct. Directed by Nick Bagnall, the show was cancelled mid-run due to lockdown and the venue will aim to celebrate its return in front of full capacity audiences. The Royal Court welcomes audiences back through their doors from 2-31 July with Ellen & Rigby – a new comedy from Gerry Linford starring audience favourites Lindzi Germain and Andrew Schofield.

New Liverpool talent cuts its teeth with Unity, as the theatre showcases 22 Merseyside-based creatives and companies through their Open Call Programme, with support for two of the artists from the Everyman & Playhouse. Created to provide further income and performance opportunity to local artists, the programme features new work from poets, theatre companies, comedians, writers and more. The Open Call forms part of Unity’s wider 2021 Season, featuring over 40 events and 100 artists.

Proving that great theatre can take place anywhere in the City, not just on its famous stages, Everyman & Playhouse New Works, alongside Laurence Westgaph and Falling Doors Theatre will commission artists to create response pieces to Liverpool’s role in the Transatlantic slave trade in The Streets Where We Live, performed in key spots around the city. Young Everyman Playhouse will also take their talents outdoors, as they perform Shakespeare’s Macbeth in an open-air space in the city.

Another opportunity to take in the theatre of Liverpool’s streets comes from the Unity’s Walk and Talk initiative, getting theatre makers together to reconnect on a walk around the city. This forms part of Unity’s Creative’pool scheme, which sees further collaboration between the venues to support artists through workshops, including Nuts & Bolts – a monthly workshop to help bring creative projects to life with Everyman & Playhouse.

The full season will go on sale from Wednesday 7 April across the theatres’ webpages with a host of productions for audiences to look forward to across the three venues.

At the Royal Court local comedy takes centre stage as the theatres celebrate Boisterous Theatre’s amazing adaptation of John Godber’s Bouncers (13 Aug – 11 Sept) and present the story of the world-famous Anfield bakery Homebaked – The Musical (24 Sept – 23 Oct), in a co-production with Red Ladder.

Joining Our Lady of Blundellsands at the Everyman, new work starring Hollyoaks’ Luke Jerdy Y’MAM premieres 16-26 June, and Cherry Jezebel, new writing from Jonathan Larkin, joins a special Drag Cabaret for a double bill on 2 and 3 July. Lauren Silver’s online show Get Ready With Me: A Clown Show will be available to stream on 22 May.

The Playhouse welcomes audiences back this summer with visiting shows WOKE (24-26 June), The Greatest Play in the History of the World (29 Jun – 3 July) starring Julie Hesmondhalgh and Under the Mask (8-10 July) written by doctor Shaan Sahota who worked in a London hospital during the pandemic. The Very Hungry Caterpillar will entertain young theatre audiences from 15-17 July, before the theatre’s lockdown audio series Love Liverpool comes to life on stage from 30 July – 14 August, directed by Nathan Powell.

At the Unity, programme highlights include a trilogy of work from Liverpool-based All Things Considered – The Storm Shepherd, Sleepover and Pram Talk – created to help parents, children, friends and family reconnect following the pandemic. Good Grief by local clowning company Ugly Bucket Theatre and A Home for Grief with Fabiola Sanatana and Contact Theatre support audiences to navigate bereavement; and interactive family Christmas show Outside the Igloo tells the now-familiar tale of leaving your home again after a long time indoors. All in venue work will also be available to watch online at a Pay What You Can rate.

In a joint statement, Mark Da Vanzo, chief executive at Liverpool & Merseyside Theatre Trust, Gordon Millar, chief executive at Unity Theatre and Gillian Miller, chief executive at Royal Court Liverpool, said:

“During one of the most challenging times for everyone associated with the arts in Liverpool, our industry has collectively pulled together to support one another. As the three main producing theatres in the City, we now want to play our part to help theatre makers in Liverpool thrive both now and in the future.

“Our theatres are committed to working together as a collective to nurture new artists, connect with communities, and entertain audiences of the Liverpool City Region and beyond.”

For more information on the full seasons available at all venues and to purchase tickets from 7 April, please visit the Everyman & Playhouse, Unity Theatre and Royal Court Liverpool’s websites.