Organisers of Liverpool Theatre Festival have revealed plans for this year’s headline and fringe events – with the first six shows going on sale.
The fourth annual Liverpool Theatre Festival is back with a new date – this year taking place in Summer 2023. While new works and fringe event Little LTF will go ahead in Autumn 2023. The changes will ensure there is no clash with the city’s Eurovision celebrations.
Both events will once again take place at St Luke’s Bombed Out Church in Liverpool city centre.
The first wave of six shows going on sale feature music, drama, and family shows. They go on sale at 10am on Wednesday 5 April 2023.
The main Liverpool Theatre Festival will run during the school Summer holidays from Thursday 20 July to Sunday 30 July 2023. The new dates will mean that an exciting programme of daytime family shows can be included in the programme.
Fringe event Little LTF – Liverpool Theatre Festival Of New Works will take place in the Autumn, running between Tuesday 3 October and Sunday 8 October 2023. Performances will be staged within the more intimate marquee at St Luke’s Bombed Out Church. Further details about submitting work will be announced soon.
This year’s festival partners are Edge Hill University, Morecrofts Solicitors, Bill Elms Associates and Ticket Quarter.
This project is part-funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund with the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority as the lead authority. Along with Liverpool City Council and Culture Liverpool.
Last year the festival boasted its biggest and most diverse programme to date featuring variety and cabaret, comedy, opera, drama, musicals, family shows, and drag acts. Now organisers are continuing to build on the extensive choice of shows.
The news also includes the announcement of two new commissions which will be premiered at the main Liverpool Theatre Festival in July.
Sober Companion is a brand new play written and starring Joe McGann and Jake Norton, and new children’s show Fred The Musical, which is based on the book about a fire-sneezing dragon by Fay Evans.
Sober Companion is a new play written and performed by Joe McGann and Jake Norton which explores the funny, raw, and sometimes dark places of fame, addiction, and recovery. Dan (played by Jake Norton) is a high-flying prime time television presenter. He also has a bad habit which he denies, but it’s not hidden as well as he thinks. People close to him are concerned. Gerard (played by Joe McGann) has seen it all before. He has personal experience of recovery that could be useful to Dan, so his services have been engaged. There is an intervention, intrusion of privacy, stranger in the midst. We all need a little help sometimes, but it can be difficult to admit. The play will run for two performances on Saturday 22 July at 3.30pm and 7.30pm.
Fred The Musical is a new interactive stage show for children aged eight and under, based on the best-selling rhyming picture book Fred The Fire-Sneezing Dragon by Fay Evans. Fred is a lonely young dragon whose fiery sneezes cause chaos at school. He is teased by his human classmates, until he accidentally saves the day. The pupils eventually learn to accept and celebrate Fred in this heartwarming tale. At the heart of the show are themes of friendship, diversity, and inclusivity – encouraging children to accept everyone is different, and can be good at something. Aimed at toddlers and primary schoolchildren, the show is full of life and laughter and packed with pantomime-inspired interaction. Writer Fay Evans and producer Bill Elms have collaborated to bring the book to stage as a musical. The show is on Sunday 23 July at 11.30am and 1.30pm.
Liverpool Theatre Festival 2023 will open with a night of opera, Viva Tenori – A Celebration Of The Three Tenors is brought to the stage by Absolute Opera in association with Forever Tenors on Thursday 20 July at 7.30pm. Appearing for the fourth year in a row, Liverpool-based Absolute Opera is proud to present this musical extravaganza featuring some of the UK’s leading performers – Absolute Opera’s Roy Locke appears alongside Adam Lacey and Rob Durkin from Forever Tenors. This concert celebrates the unforgettable music, romance and spectacle that were the concerts of the original Three Tenors – Carreras, Domingo, and Pavarotti with three classically trained world class opera singers from the North and North West. They will be joined by special guest soprano Leigh Rhiannon Coggins, who lent her beautiful voice and charming on-stage presence to previous Absolutely Opera shows Opera Beneath The Stars at LTF in 2021 and 2022. Alongside opera classics Nessun Dorma and O Sole Mio, the programme will include a fresh approach to modern pop classics inspired by artists including Andrea Bocelli and Josh Groban, re-arranging and translating modern songs to create stunning classical versions.
This will be followed by Whatever Happened To Billy Kenny written by acclaimed Liverpool playwright Ian Salmon. It’s the question asked by Evertonians across the last three decades. This one-man show is built on Billy’s own words and written with his blessing, it stars Liverpool actor Jay Johnson. Nineteen-year-old Billy Kenny had the world at his feet – Man Of The Match in the Merseyside Derby while still on a YTS contract; hailed by Peter Beardsley as ‘The Goodison Gazza’; and sacked by Everton and retired by aged 21. A potentially glittering career lost to injury, alcohol, and cocaine. The play is on Friday 21 July at 7.30pm.
After proving to be such a hit with LTF audiences in 2021, Perfectly Frank returns to the LTF stage on Sunday 23 July at 7pm. Liverpool’s very own David Knopov keeps the swing of Sinatra alive throughout this show. The singer has entertained a global audience with his Sinatra act for more than 30 years, and is believed to be one of the most successful Frank Sinatra tributes in the business. He performed for the late Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II during the Golden Jubilee celebrations, and counts actors Bill Nighy and Dawn French amongst his celebrity fans.
Ahead of a run at the Edinburgh Fringe, Magic Gareth: Level Up will be at LTF on Wednesday 26 July at 1.30pm. Following on from the success of Magic Gareth’s Magic Eye show at last year’s Fringe, the magician is bringing a new production to Liverpool. This is a family magic show extravaganza, complete with a grumpy unicorn, games, and plenty of trickery and tomfoolery. Suitable for aged five upwards.
Liverpool Theatre Festival was created by Liverpool theatre producer Bill Elms, who has worked in the theatre industry for more than 30 years. Theatres and live entertainment venues were ordered to close immediately under the Government’s first national Covid-19 lockdown guidelines in March 2020. It was Bill’s mission and vision to reinvigorate and boost the city’s live performance and creative arts sector, offering a lifeline when it was needed most. Liverpool Theatre Festival was created in a matter of weeks.
Since its inaugural staging in Autumn 2020, it has gone on to win praise from audiences and critics alike, as well as winning many awards along the way. Liverpool Theatre Festival is committed to supporting local artists, creatives, and theatre companies.
Producer and artistic director Bill Elms commented: “Liverpool Theatre Festival was created out of a need to provide a lifeline and support for the creative arts industry during challenging times. We’re delighted that ethos has continued and developed into showcasing emerging talent and unearth the gems we have in our sector. This accessible platform is invaluable to empower new writers and performers, while making a return to live entertainment and we encourage audiences to experience the shows first-hand.
“This is now our fourth consecutive year. The festival continues to evolve which keeps it fresh and innovative with each year. We are now established and have become an important part in Liverpool’s thriving events calendar. We’re mixing it up a little this year by moving the dates round so we can include more daytime family shows during the Summer holidays. Plus the change of date also falls pre-Edinburgh, so it’s a great opportunity to catch some brilliant performers for a test run on their way to Edinburgh. We are grateful to once again be working with exciting partners, and would like to hear from any companies who may like to become involved in a sponsorship capacity.”
Visit www.liverpooltheatrefestival.com for the latest news updates.