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The Lyric Theatre, Everton Valley, Liverpool

Later - The Lyric Super Cinema

Liverpool Theatres Index

The Lyric Theatre, Everton, Liverpool - Courtesy Maurice Friedman, British Music hall Society

Above - The Lyric Theatre, Everton, Liverpool - Courtesy Maurice Friedman, British Music hall Society

 

The opening night Poster for 'Blue Beard' at the Lyric Theatre, Liverpool on the 27th of December 1897 - Kindly sent in by David Howle.The Lyric Theatre was a large out of town Theatre with a capacity of 1,882 on three levels, Stalls and Pit, Boxes, Upper Circle, Amphitheatre and Gallery. The Theatre took 12 months to build due to strike action and was constructed by J. and G. Chappell, Walton to the designs of the Liverpool architect W. Vaughan.

The Theatre opened on Monday the 27th of December 1897 with a twice nightly production of the Pantomime 'Blue Beard,' and was run by the Lessee and Manager, Henry C. Arnold, who was a well known actor at the time.

Right - The opening night Poster for 'Blue Beard' at the Lyric Theatre, Liverpool on the 27th of December 1897 - Kindly sent in by David Howle.

The ERA reported on the newly opened Theatre in their 1st of January 1898 edition saying: 'After many anxious days and nights, Mr H. C. Arnold, well-known and highly esteemed in connection with various theatrical ventures, was enabled to open the Lyric Theatre, Everton Valley, on the afternoon of Boxing Day. Crooked labour questions in this as well as in other districts necessitated the postponement of the date originally fixed for the opening of the new North-end Theatre, but enterprise, energy, and ingenuity overcame all "strike" circumstances, and Mr Arnold was generally complimented by many friends on the opening day in view of the admirable appointments of the new establishment, as well as upon the taste and liberality displayed in attachment to the production of Blue-beard as his Christmas speciality.

The building of the Lyric Theatre was commenced some twelve months ago, and it is now practically complete, with the exception of a few finishing touches. It consists of stalls, pit, upper circle, amphitheatre, and gallery. The pit will comfortably hold 750 people, the stalls 62, the circle 420, and the amphitheatre and gallery 650. The pit is approached by two corridors 7f t. wide, and the circle by a large vestibule and staircase...

 

A detail from the opening night Poster for 'Blue Beard' at the Lyric Theatre, Liverpool on the 27th of December 1897 - Kindly sent in by David Howle.

Above - A detail from the opening night Poster for 'Blue Beard' at the Lyric Theatre, Liverpool on the 27th of December 1897 - Kindly sent in by David Howle.

 

A sketch of the Stage, Proscenium, and Boxes of the Lyric Theatre, Liverpool - From 'The Playgoer' of 1901 - Courtesy Iain Wotherspoon....The site of the theatre is about 1,200 yards in extent, and the exterior of the building is in red brick, with stone dressings. The interior decorations are on an elaborate scale. On the east side of the theatre there are property, dressing, engine, and dynamo rooms, the dressing apartments being fitted up with the most modern sanitary and heating arrangements. On the west side are the refreshment bars, retiring-rooms, cloak-rooms, &c. The lighting is by electricity, with an auxiliary supply of gas.

Left - A sketch of the Stage, Proscenium, and Boxes of the Lyric Theatre, Liverpool - From 'The Playgoer' of 1901 - Courtesy Iain Wotherspoon.

The contractors for the building were Messrs J. and G. Chappell, Walton ; the decorations, &c., were undertaken by Messrs W. Goodall and Messrs Morton, Liverpool; the electrical fittings by Messrs Williams and Bucknell, Liverpool; the gas and limelight arrangements by Messrs Eyres and Tupling, Liverpool; and the whole arrangements were under the personal supervision of Mr W. Vaughan, of Westminster-chambers, Liverpool, the architect...

 

An opening night Bill for 'Blue Beard' at the Lyric Theatre, Liverpool on the 27th of December 1897 - Courtesy K.R.

Above - An opening night Bill for 'Blue Beard' at the Lyric Theatre, Liverpool on the 27th of December 1897 - Courtesy K.R.

 

A sketch of the Lyric Theatre, Liverpool - From 'The Playgoer' of 1901 - Courtesy Iain Wotherspoon....The exits of the theatre have given satisfaction to the city authorities, and there is also an ample provision of fire appliances.

Right - A sketch of the Lyric Theatre, Liverpool - From 'The Playgoer' of 1901 - Courtesy Iain Wotherspoon.

Bluebeard, the inaugural speciality, runs pretty well on the same lines as its predecessors, the libretto being by Mr J. H. Wolfe, the music by Mr R. J. M‘Dermott, the scenery by Mr R. Harrison, each of whom has done his best to give emphasis to the inaugural show at the Lyric. Prominently identified with the cast of characters are Mr W. H. Moss, the many-wifed hero; Mr J. P. Dane, a highly characteristic representative of Ibrahim; Miss Marie Free, a bright and lively Fatima; Mr J. Norris, who strongly emphasised the character of Sister Anne; Messrs Sandy and Carl, trusted, tried, and true henchmen of the dread bearded hero; and Miss Laura Lyle, a lively and lovely Selim, true to Fatima. Other numerous parts in a pantomime of particular excellence were held by artists who evidently knew their business. Messrs Vaughan, Lewis, and Fanshaw especially distinguished themselves in a trap scene, and the Musical Motramos, Little Marie Josephine, and the Eight Premiers gave specialties which were greatly applauded. The harlequinade includes Mr A. Lewis, clown; Mr W. Fanshaw, pantaloon; Mr T. Vaughan, harlequin; and Miss A. Hammond, columbine.'

The above text in quotes was first published in the ERA, 1st January 1898.

 

A poster for 'Jack and Jill' at the Lyric Theatre, Liverpool in 1906 , held at the Liverpool Records Office - Courtesy KR.Apart from the annual pantomimes the Lyric Theatre was mainly used to house Drama productions, but when the Theatre became part of the Barrasford circuit and reopened on Easter Monday of 1903 it became a twice nightly Variety house.

Right - A poster for 'Jack and Jill' at the Lyric Theatre, Liverpool in 1906 , held at the Liverpool Records Office - Courtesy KR.

The Lyric remained a Variety House for many years but eventually closed down and remained so for some years until it was taken over by the W. Gordon Cinema Circuit and extensively refurbished and reopened as the Lyric Super Cinema on the 19th of September 1921.

This incarnation lasted until 1924 when it closed down.

The following year the Theatre was refurbished and redecorated, and reopened as a live Theatre again on the 28th of December 1925 with the revue 'There You Are Then!' which was immediately a great success.

Failing a fire inspection by the Liverpool Fire Brigade due to unsatisfactory exits the Lyric closed down on the 19th of November 1932 during the run of another successful revue called 'Laugh and Risk It.'

Sadly the Theatre was never to reopen after this and it was then used as a warehouse.

The Theatre was mostly destroyed by enemy action in 1940.

After this the remains of the building were used as a garage for Wm. Rainfords Demolition, before being demolished itself for road improvements.

Some of the information for this Theatre was gleaned from Harold Ackroyd's excellent book 'The Liverpool Stage.

Archive newspaper reports on this page were collated and kindly sent in for inclusion by B.F.

 

This photograph from a block of flats shows the remains of the Lyric Theatre, (bottom centre) in August 1970 - Courtesy KR.

Above - This photograph from a block of flats shows the remains of the Lyric Theatre, (bottom centre) in August 1970 - Courtesy KR.

 

You may find the following pages from this site of interest: