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Everyman exhibition celebrates seminal artistic director

An exhibition celebrating the work and influence of the late Liverpool Everyman artistic director Alan Dossor is being staged at the theatre this month.

The free display, which runs until June 29, focusses on the director’s groundbreaking time in charge at the Hope Street venue during the 1970s.

It has been brought together in collaboration with Liverpool John Moores University, which holds the Everyman and Playhouse archive, and Dossor’s daughter Lucy, and is part of the Everyman's 60th anniversary celebrations.

Dossor arrived at the Everyman in 1970, aged 28, and spent five years shaping its artistic programme during what has become seen as a golden era for the theatre.

Among the future stars who were part of the Everyman’s rep company during his tenure were Antony Sher, Bernard Hill, Julie Walters, Pete Postlethwaite, Alison Steadman, Bill Nighy, Jonathan Pryce, Trevor Eve and Matthew Kelly.

Dossor’s first production at the theatre in 1970 was Stephan Fagan’s The Braddocks’ Time, a documentary musical about the legendary Liverpool MP Bessie Braddock and set in a boxing ring.

He also directed groundbreaking productions like Willy Russell’s 1974 musical John, Paul, George, Ringo…and Bert which later transferred to the West End (and made a star out of Barbara Dickson), and worked with other important voices like Alan Bleasdale, John McGrath and Chris Bond.

Dossor left the Everyman in 1975, handing over the reins to Bond. He continued to work in theatre, but in the early 1980s his TV directing career took off before he returned to the stage in the late 1990s. He died in 2016 aged 74.

Above: A poster for Willy Russell's 1974 musical John, Paul, George, Ringo...and Bert. Top: Artistic director Alan Dossor at the Everyman in the 1970s.

The exhibition explores the key elements of Dossor’s approach and includes reproductions of photographs and posters from the Everyman’s archive, held at LJMU.

Everyman and Playhouse chief executive Mark Da Vanzo says: “Celebrating the 60th year at the Everyman couldn’t pass by without taking a moment to reflect and celebrate Alan’s extraordinary legacy.

“His informal, adventurous and popular style, combining new work and reimagined classics, and giving actors and writers a chance to experiment and learn their craft, is still very much at the heart of our ethos today.

“We’re grateful to partner with LJMU who hold the Everyman’s archive and are pleased to not just share this exhibition now but also a long-term reminder of this remarkable man with the installation of a plaque on the wall as you go into the theatre.

“His daughter Lucy has chosen a perfect quote from her father: ‘Theatre won’t change the world, but the people watching it just might’.”

A Celebration of Alan Dossor is at the Liverpool Everyman until June 24.  


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