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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Dan Haygarth

The famous faces from film and TV to have come from the Everyman and Playhouse Youth Theatre

David Morrissey has won widespread praise for his role in the hit BBC drama Sherwood.

The Kensington-born star played DCS Ian St. Clair in the six-part series, which concluded on Tuesday. The show's plot followed a manhunt in Sherwood Forest, after two murders bring simmering tensions to the boil in a fractured former mining village in Nottinghamshire.

After garnering rave reviews, the drama has been tipped for awards - as has David's performance. It is the latest success in a long career on the big and small screens for David, whose route into the performing arts came from Liverpool's Everyman and Playhouse Youth Theatre.

READ MORE: First look inside Prescot's new £38m theatre

Founded in the 1970s, the Everyman Youth Theatre ran until 1993, when the Everyman went into liquidation in the 1990s. At its peak, the youth theatre was said to have had over 300 members.

A 'new' Everyman Youth Theatre was established in the late 1990s, before the Everyman and Playhouse Youth Theatre was established in 2006. 2012 saw the organisation rebranded as Young Everyman Playhouse, nurturing young actors, directors, marketers, producers, technicians and writers.

We look at the careers of some of the high-profile writers and performers to have come through the Everyman and Playhouse Youth Theatre over the years.

Stephen Graham

Stephen Graham arriving for the UK premiere of 'Boiling Point' in 2021 (Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)

Kirkby-born Stephen has worked with acclaimed directors Martin Scorsese, Guy Ritchie, Michael Mann and Shane Meadows and has acted alongside a plethora of A-listers, including Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz, Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo Di Caprio, Brad Pitt, Tom Hanks and Penelope Cruz.

In 2021, he was nominated for a BAFTA for his role in Channel 4's pandemic drama Help, which also starred Liverpool's Jodie Comer. He has credited the Everyman for starting his "love affair" with acting and told the Times in 2019 that Liverpool actor Andrew Schofield introduced him to the theatre.

He said: “Drew lived across the road from my nana’s house. He was massive in Scully when he came to watch my first school play — Treasure Island. I was Jim Hawkins. He said to my mum and dad, ‘Your Stephen’s got some talent,’ and he introduced me to the Everyman Theatre. That was when my love affair truly began.”

Heidi Thomas

Call The Midwife writer Heidi Thomas (Isabel Infantes/PA Wire)

Screenwriter Heidi Thomas was born in Garston in 1962 and studied English at the University of Liverpool. While at university, she won the John Whitling Award for her play Shamrocks and Crocodiles, before her play Indigo was performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).

After further stage success, Heidi wrote many screen adaptations for the BBC, including Madame Bovary, Cranford and a reboot of Upstairs, Downstairs. However, she is best known as the writer and co-producer of Call the Midwife.

The show's eleventh season hit screens earlier this year, while production for the twelfth is ongoing. Heidi currently lives in Cambridge with husband and fellow Scouser Stephen McGann.

Ian Hart

Most famous for his dual role as Professor Quirrell and Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Ian Hart began acting at the Everyman Youth Theatre while at Cardinal Heenan High School. Born in Knotty Ash in 1964, Ian then studied video production at South Mersey College.

Prominent in theatre during the 1980s, Ian toured with the Playhouse 's production of Jim Morris play Pinnocchio Boys and starred in Willy Russell's Stags and Hens. He then gained cinematic recognition for his performance as John Lennon in 1991 film The Hours and Times and has since worked with Ken Loach, Kate Winslet, Steve Coogan and Tim Roth.

This year, he was seen in Liverpool-set BBC drama The Responder as Carl Sweeney, opposite Martin Freeman.

The McGann brothers

The McGann brothers in 1986 (Daily Record)

Joe, Paul, Mark and Stephen McGann have all become familiar faces on TV and in film. Born in Kensington to a family of Irish origin, they all got into acting through the Everyman Youth Theatre.

Stephen has become best known for his role as Dr Turner in Call the Midwife, written by the aforementioned Heidi Thomas. Joe starred in ITV comedy The Upper Hand and soap Night and Day, while Mark's TV and film roles include Alan Bleasdale's Scully, The Grand, Shackleton and Let Him Have It.

Paul, who studied at RADA, starred with Richard E. Grant in 1987 cult classic Withnail and I, before appearing in Steven Spielberg's Empire of the Sun and small roles in blockbusters The Three Musketeers and Alien 3. In 1996, he played the Doctor in a TV film of Doctor Who. Since then, Paul has popped up in a number of TV shows and films, including a recurring role in the BBC's Luther.

The four brothers appeared together in The Hanging Gale - a 1995 TV series set in County Donegal at the start of the Irish potato famine.

David Morrissey

David Morrissey attending the screening of BBC One drama Sherwood at The Broadway Cinema, Nottingham (Jacob King/PA Wire)

Most recently seen in the aforementioned BBC drama Sherwood, David has enjoyed a long career in film, TV and on stage. The son of a Littlewoods employee and a cobbler, he was born in Kensington in 1964 and was inspired to get into the industry after watching Ken Loach's 1969 classic Kes on TV.

David joined the Everyman Youth Theatre while he was at De La Salle school and made his first appearance in a play about the Toxteth riots. At the Everyman, he became friends with the McGanns and Ian Hart and also sat on the theatre's board.

He then got his big break at the age of 19, as the lead in Channel 4's first ever drama series - Willy Russell's One Summer. He was then trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) before working for the RSC and the National Theatre.

Since then, he has carved out a successful career as a character actor, appearing in Hollywood films - such as Captain Corelli's Mandolin, The Other Boleyn Girl and becoming a familiar face on TV. Over the years, he has played Gordon Brown in Stephen Frears' The Deal, appeared in The Hollow Crown and The Walking Dead, and starred in the critically-acclaimed State of Play.

Cathy Tyson

Cathy Tyson collected the BAFTA award for her role in Help (BBC One/BAFTA)

Born in London, Cathy Tyson moved to Liverpool as a child and attended the Everyman Youth Theatre. After working for the RSC, she made her film debut in 1986's Mona Lisa and won praise for her role as Simone, alongside Bob Hoskins.

Her TV credits include Band of Gold, The Bill, Grange Hill, Night & Day and Holby City. Earlier this year, Cathy won a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress for her role as care home resident Polly in Help - opposite Stephen Graham and Jodie Comer.

After winning the award, Cathy praised Channel 4, and the role it has played in British broadcasting. She said: “I remember being a teenager when Channel 4 was born… They are a voice for the people who were unheard at the time and still continue to do so.”

Daniel Craig

James Bond actor Daniel Craig. (Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for EON Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, and Universal Pictures)

Though he was not a member of the Everyman Youth Theatre, the Wirral-raised former James Bond star credits the theatre as a "huge influence" on his career.

While promoting Quantum of Solace in 2008, Daniel told the ECHO : “The Everyman was a big part of my life growing up. I saw some of the best actors of their generation and it was a home-from-home for me at the time. It was inspirational for me, seeing plays there, and being backstage in the theatre.”


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