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May, 2015

Re-presenting the City

A Dramatist’s Contextualisation Of Liverpool Post 1990


Born, the son of a plasterer and leaving for Leeds University in 1982, my formative years in Liverpool and deep early impressions of the city were shaped by the 1970s /80s. One of the few positive benefits of attending an under-funded, inner-city comprehensive school in Liverpool was perhaps the number of subjects and interests we attempted to cover and a resultant affinity for eclecticism.1 From sports to school plays to a terrible school orchestra, I had a go at everything and at times the loose structure meant that when I was caught out of class, reading and writing poetry or playing football in the gym nobody bothered too much. Teachers tended to adopt the attitude that I was probably better off teaching myself and helped my feral learning where they could or wrote me off as someone who would learn by mistake. But a trip to an early screening of Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 film ‘Apocalypse Now’ (United Artists), at Liverpool city centre’s only progressive and soon to be symbolically defunct, Futurist cinema, in 1980 confirmed that Liverpool was an environment in sharp decline.

The main body of this submission is five, full-length theatre scripts. Each project examines and theatrically presents key influences of the major social and cultural forces that have both impacted on and shaped Liverpool:

Fall From Grace

 About the Liverpool-Irish, Irish immigration and the city’s relationship with Ireland.

 Written and produced 1990-94.

 Toured nationally and internationally.

Co-produced with Bill Kenwright and The Liverpool Playhouse 1994. Subject of several BBC Radio Merseyside special programmes. Commissioned by the Arts Council and Liverpool City Council.

Ballad of the Sea

 About Liverpool’s Twentieth Century seafarers.

 Written and produced 1993-95.

 Beginning at The Unity Theatre Liverpool 1993, performed in The Maritime Museum 1994, full production at The Everyman Theatre 1997.

 Commissioned by the Arts Council and Liverpool City Council.


 About the diversity of ethnicity with communities from all over the world flowing into the city.

 Written and produced 2004-07. 12

 Beginning as part of the Liverpool Biennial 2004 at The Jump Ship Rat Gallery and full site-specific production at the Stanley Dock Tobacco Warehouse 2007.

 Commissioned by the Liverpool Culture Company in the lead up to Liverpool as European Capital of Culture 2008 and the Arts Council of England.

With supporting World in One City CD-ROM outlining some of the research methods/sources, commissioned by Liverpool City Council.

The Shankly Show

 About the relationship with football and Liverpool Football Club’s iconic manager, 2008-10.

 Opened at The Olympia Theatre, Liverpool 2008 transferred to the Royal Court Liverpool later that year and to the Echo Arena – BT Convention Centre 2010.

 Worldwide DVD release of live recording 2010.

 Featured on BBC1, ITV1, STV and Sky Sports TV, Radio 4’s Today programme and one of the most popular media covered events of Liverpool’s 2008 Year of Culture.

 Commissioned by The Liverpool Culture Company for Liverpool 08 and The Arts Council of England.

Epstein – The Man Who Made The Beatles

 About popular music and the Beatles iconic manager 2012.

 Opened at The Epstein Theatre Liverpool 2012, transferred to the Leicester Square Theatre London summer 2014 with plans to be produced in New York and Toronto.

 Commissioned by Liverpool City Council, The Arts Council of England, Homotopia.

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