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Epstein Theatre: Administration brings ‘peace of mind that future is secure’

Liverpool’s Epstein Theatre continues to look forward to “an incredible line-up of shows booked in until 2019” despite administrators being called in.

The historic venue’s general manager says that the move has provided “peace of mind that the future of The Epstein is secure”.

The Hanover Street-based theatre is pushing ahead with all productions, performances and bookings as normal, including tonight’s (8 December) opening of the Peter Pan Christmas Pantomime, after it was announced yesterday that Lila Thomas and Jason Baker of FRP Advisory have been appointed as administrators to Epstein Theatre Limited.

All staff – around 30 – are being retained in support of the upcoming schedule of productions at the theatre, and the joint administrators are said to have support in place for the ongoing operations of the venue whilst a ‘new and more sustainable financial structure for its growing place at the heart of Liverpool’s cultural capital’ is being finalised.

Liverpool City Council owns the freehold of the building whilst Hanover Estate Management is a longlease holder.

Rebekah Pichilingi, general manager of Epstein Theatre Limited, says: “It is business as usual at the Epstein Theatre and this latest step by Liverpool City Council has given both myself and my team the peace of mind that the future of The Epstein is secure.

“We already have an incredible line-up of shows booked in until 2019 and we are continuing as normal to take bookings, including returning favourites and some exciting brand new productions, we look forward to many years of doing what we’ve always done best, providing top class entertainment in a warm and welcoming environment.

“We would like to reassure all our customers and promoters that all shows will continue as planned.”

Epstein Theatre

The Peter Pan Christmas Pantomime will open tonight, starring Dane Bowers. Image by David Munn.

Lila Thomas, joint administrator, and partner at FRP Advisory, says: “Talks are at an advanced stage with key stakeholders for a financial restructure ensuring operations continue as normal for all current bookings, planned future shows and to place the theatre with a more sustainable structure to allow for another generation of successful performances across the spectrum of entertainment.

“All theatre staff are being retained and paid as normal while a solution is finalised, and all existing contracts are being maintained for bookings, to ensure the show will go on for both theatre-goers and performers over the coming weeks while a transition to a new holding structure is agreed.”

The theatre was first opened more than 100 years ago as Crane’s Concert Hall, and was purchased by Liverpool Corporation in 1967 when it was renamed The Neptune Theatre. It closed in 2005 before an £1 million refurbishment was carried out in 2011.

The venue was renamed again as The Epstein Theatre, in memory of The Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein, and opened in May 2012.