The Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham opened in 1891. The 700-seat auditorium is a fine example of the work of famous theatre designer Frank Matcham.
Initially called the Theatre Royal and Opera House, its name changed to the Everyman in the 1960s as a sign that it was a venue for everybody. In the mid twentieth century it was held in high regard for its seasons of repertory theatre. Today it is both a receiving and a producing house. Many shows that tour here are on the way to the West End or have recently come from the West End.
The programme is varied: high quality plays are presented alongside musical theatre and evenings of stand-up comedy. In addition, the theatre is made available twice a year to local operatic societies, who present popular musicals to large audiences. There are opportunities for youth theatre and summer school students to perform on the main stage. The intimate 50-seat Studio Theatre offers professional work that is a contrast to the shows being presented on the main stage. Often the companies that tour into the Studio are local; some are new and others are able to use the space for development weeks. The work tends to be contemporary and often issue-based. The Everyman produces its own small-scale shows in the Studio.
The Education and Community Department historically engages with over
14,000 members of communities each year. The current “Brain Project” is an umbrella title that brings together workshops and projects on Dementia, mental health, literacy, numeracy and disability. The department employs a number of freelance specialist practitioners to deliver its work.
Young people feature strongly: the Everyman runs youth theatre courses, summer schools, Arts Award projects and a BTEC course. Artist development is covered by Actors’ Lab (which has been running for over 15 years), Writers’ Lab and Practitioners’ Lab.
Outside of the theatre building itself, the Everyman organisation has recently been touring productions locally (often these start in the Studio Theatre) and nationally (starting on the main stage and then touring to similar sized venues throughout England). There is a policy to create a number of commissions and co-productions each year, which ensures that the Everyman has a national profile.