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Liverpool Theatre Festival Returns For 2021 And Adds Summer Event For New Works

Bill Elms - Photo by Wesley Storey.
Bill Elms - Photo by Wesley Storey.

LIVERPOOL Theatre Festival returns this Autumn after a hugely successful inaugural year, and this time organisers are also introducing a Summer event to premiere new works.

The outdoor festival, at St Luke's Bombed Out Church, Liverpool, in September 2020, was created by Liverpool Theatre Producer Bill Elms, after Theatres nationwide closed their doors in March 2020, as part of the UK's Coronavirus Lockdown.

Having worked in the Theatre industry for more than 30 years, it was Bill's mission to reinvigorate and boost the City's live performance and creative arts sector after a devastating 6 months due to the Pandemic.

The festival went ahead with Covid secure safety measures in place and featured established shows and Artists with Performances of:- Musical Theatre, Drama, Comedy, cabaret, Monologues, and Children's Shows. The event was met with excitement for a return to live entertainment. It went on to become a massive success, feeding the appetite for live entertainment, won an award, and was shortlisted for further accolades. It is now back due to popular demand with a whole new strand to introduce new works.

Liverpool Theatre Festival will be running across 2 weeks in September 2021, with the addition of Little LTF to premiere and champion new talent. Once again, the festival hub is the historic St Luke's Bombed Out Church and gardens in Liverpool City Centre.

Little LTF will run for 1 week during Summer 2021 and gives Writers and Performers the platform and opportunity to present new work in front of a live audience and become part of this exciting new venture.

Little LTF runs from Monday, 12 July to Sunday, 18 July 2021, and will be staged within the Church Walls in a specially designed undercover performance space, creating a more intimate setting. Full details on how to apply will go live on the festival website on Tuesday, 6 April 2021, at 10am. The successful shows will be announced in May 2021, and tickets will also go on sale.

The main Liverpool Theatre Festival featuring more established acts, artists and productions will run from:- Wednesday, 1 September to Sunday, 12 September 2021 and is planned to launch the City's Autumn Theatre season. The line up for Liverpool Theatre Festival 2021 will be announced soon.

The inaugural Liverpool Theatre Festival, back in 2020, year welcomed almost 2,500 festival goers across 9 days and featured 19 show stopping performances of 12 productions. Organisers followed stringent Government guidelines to ensure patrons felt safe in their surroundings.

The festival was named Liverpool Awards Community Event of the Year 2020. Organiser Bill Elms was named in The Stage 100 of Theatre makers recognised for response to the:- 'biggest challenge ever,' and he was also applauded as 1 of 28 Pandemic superstars who supported Liverpool during 2020. The event was also a finalist in 2 categories at the Liverpool City Region Culture and Creativity Awards 2020 having been shortlisted for The People's Choice for Outstanding Contribution to Culture and Impact Award Covid19 Creative Response.

St Lukes Church - Bold Street - Liverpool - Photo by David Munn.
St Luke's Church - Bold Street - Liverpool - Photo by David Munn.

The 1st year line up featured Liverpool actor Andrew Lancel in Swan Song, in partnership with LTF, from award winning City Playwright Jonathan Harvey and directed by BAFTA Award Winning Director, Noreen Kershaw; 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 and Liza; Hurrah! For The Pirate King; and Something About Simon.

New for 2021 is the addition of Little LTF, a vital new strand to Liverpool Theatre Festival to showcase and encourage new work. Little LTF is unique as there are so few world festivals who solely showcase new works. Submissions are especially welcomed from Liverpool's diverse communities and arts organisations to fully represent the Cityscape, children's productions are also encouraged to apply. Scripts must be complete or already in development. Creatives must be linked to Liverpool City Region or the wider North West area. A panel of industry professionals will select works, and media and Theatre programmers will be invited to see the premieres 1st hand at the festival. Accolades will also be given to outstanding productions in specific categories. Full details and criteria to apply for Little LTF will be available on the festival website, on Tuesday 6 April 2021, at 10 am, along with the submission form.

Festival Director Bill Elms commented:- "I am thrilled to announce the return of Liverpool Theatre Festival for 2021; Theatre is definitely back! We were so inspired by last year's event that we are determined to return and take it to the next level, and the addition of Little LTF will do just that. We are sure the public appetite for live Theatre and entertainment will be stronger than ever after a very challenging year for everyone. Both of this year's events will be held in the open air and like last year, any necessary measures will be in place to ensure the safety of our audience, performers and those working at the festival. Little LTF is critical to encourage and provide a platform for new work and it will sit incredibly well alongside the more established work and artists in the main festival programme. This is an extraordinary platform to showcase dynamic and innovative new work. The North West has an amazing pool of creative talent and this is a rare chance for writers and performers to premiere work to a live audience in a festival environment, it could springboard their show to the next level. Successful productions will be fully supported through the process of staging their show. The Pandemic continues to impact everyone involved in the industry; from performers, directors and writers, behind the scenes creatives, like lighting, sound and costume, through to front of house teams. A year ago, I felt compelled to act and after a lot of phone calls, planning and an extremely fast turnaround, Liverpool Theatre Festival was born. My passion and commitment to push the event forward is stronger than ever, we are determined to press ahead and raise the funds to make it happen, and we can't wait to see how the festival will flourish."

Liverpool Theatre Festival will shortly announce details of a Festival Friends loyalty scheme. The paid members will play an integral in making the festival happen and help shape the event into 1 of the UK's top arts festivals. Sponsorship and partner opportunities for Liverpool Theatre Festival are also available to enable future festivals to take place.

Visit:- LiverpoolTheatreFestival.Com for the latest news updates.

Liverpool Arts Festival celebrates 21 years with high profile guests
Photo by Ferhat Elik.

Elif Shafak - Photo by Ferhat Elik

LIVERPOOL'S acclaimed Writing on the Wall Festival returns next month with a line up of famous names to celebrate its 21st Anniversary. WoWFEST:- 21 Years of Radical Writing, which will run online throughout May, will see headliners including:- Film Maker Ken Loach, Children's Author and poet, Michael Rosen and Television Presenter, Jon Snow, all making appearances.

They will be joined by Maxine Hong Kingston, the Chinese American Author and Professor, at the University of California; Singer, Song Writer, Tracey Thorn and Crime Fiction American Novelist, Walter Moseley.

Lady Phyll, the British political activist and co-founder of UK Black Pride, together with Elif Shafak, a Turkish British Writer and Women's Rights Activist, are among the other guests.

The festival promises to have something for everyone, from children through to adults, with guests from a wide range of backgrounds and covering a hugely diverse range of topics.

Mike Morris and Madeline Heneghan, Co-Directors of Writing on the Wall, said:- "We are delighted to be celebrating our 21st year of WoWFEST this year. 21 is certainly not just a number; we are proud to be marking 21 years of radical writing. This is a celebration of all we stand for and all we continually strive to achieve. We have some really significant names lined up, from leading iconic film makers, to Booker prize winners, legendary legal minds, musicians, spoken word artists, campaigners, activists and local writers and artists. These are just the 1st 8 headline names to be announced but we are looking forward to revealing further high profile names in the coming weeks."

All of the sessions will be virtual and interactive with audience members being encouraged to ask questions and interact with the speakers following their performances / presentations.

Mike and Madeline added:- "For 21 years Writing on the Wall has transformed lives, published countless new Authors, discovered lost voices, campaigned against racism, discrimination and inequality in all its forms and pushed local, national and international issues in their fight for justice. All of this, together with inspiring local communities through creativity to address mental health, domestic abuse, women's rights, refugees and asylum seekers, Trans rights and much, much more."

Writing on the Wall, which earlier this year was named as Arts Organisation of the Year in the Liverpool City Region Culture and Creativity Awards, came to life following the 1995 to 1998 lockout of the Liverpool Dockers and the creation of the film, Dockers, which aired on Channel 4 in 1999. This sparked the idea for a month long festival of artists which is backed by Arts Council England. Since its launch, the event has touched the lives of thousands of people and helped to launch the careers of many successful writers and spoken word artists and performers. The festival continued last year, despite Covid, with a hugely successful virtual event, during which more than 40 events were held with more than 80k people being reached. This year's sponsor is the MA International Creative Enterprise at the Institute for Creative Enterprise at Edge Hill University.

Martin McQuillan, Director of the Institute for Creative Enterprise, said:- "The Institute for Creative Enterprise at Edge Hill University is delighted once again to support the Writing on the Wall Festival. "In its 21st year, the line up is as bold and vital as ever. Writing on the Wall has certainly left its mark on the City of Liverpool and has proven that literature and the written word cannot be erased even by a Pandemic!"

A series of competitions will also be held as part of the festival this year. To celebrate the 21st Anniversary, Writing on the Wall is offering guests a special early bird festival pass for just ₤21 for entry to all festival events. Full details, together with early bird information in relation to special ticket prices, are available from:- WritingOnTheWall.Org.UK.


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