Hope Street set to swing to The Mersey Sound in 2017

The 50th anniversary of The Mersey Sound will be marked in 2017 with a series of performances celebrating the work of Roger McGough, Adrian Henri and Brian Patten.


50 Summers of Love
50 Summers of Love


Liverpool Philharmonic, Unity Theatre and Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse will create a series of works to light up Hope Street as part of the city’s 50 Summers of Love – a programme inspired by the summer of 1967, regarded as a key year for cultural creativity.

The Mersey Sound is one of the biggest selling poetry books of all time and over the years the names McGough, Henri and Patten have become synonymous with one of the city’s most iconic streets.

From 13-29 April the Everyman Theatre will produce a new adaptation of Brian Patten’s The Story Giant, directed and adapted by Matt Rutter and Lindsay Rodden, respectively. It is a tale for families of a giant who lives off new stories from around the world.

At Unity Theatre, Lizzie Nunnery, Vidar Norheim and Martin Heslop will combine poetry, live music, storytelling and film to create a new work inspired by The Mersey Sound, and specifically Liverpudlian poet Adrian Henri.

In the June 2017, the Liverpool Philharmonic will work with Roger McGough on two special events. Summer with Monika, McGough’s tale of love in the 1960s. For the 50th anniversary, the Philharmonic Orchestra’s new music group, Ensemble 10/10, will play composer and guitarist Roberts’ original arrangements alongside McGough’s poetry.

Liverpool’s cultural heritage is tied with The Beatles, and 1967 also saw the release of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra joins forces with The Bootleg Beatles and Roger McGough once again, for an evening-long symphonic recreation, arranged by Nigel Osborne, of The Beatles most famous album.

This event will take place on just three evenings – Wednesday 31 May, Saturday 3 June and Saturday 8 July.

Unity Theatre Artistic Director Matthew Linley said: “I’m fantastically excited that Unity Theatre will be collaborating with the Philharmonic Hall and the Everyman & Playhouse to celebrate 50 years of The Mersey Sound as part of 50 Summers of Love. Adrian Henri’s work as a poet, painter, writer, musician and commentator freely mixed influences and art forms. He encouraged the kind of creative collisions which inspire much of the work we see on Unity stages and spaces.”

Everyman & Playhouse Artistic Director Gemma Bodinetz said: “We are thrilled to be representing Brian Patten’s work as our contribution to the 50th Anniversary of The Mersey Sound. The Story Giant is a magical tale for children that contains all the poetry and humanity one associates with Brian’s writing for adults.”

Richard Haswell, Liverpool Philharmonic’s Head of Programme (Hall & Events) said:  “Roger McGough has quite rightly has been called Liverpool’s Poet Laureate and Liverpool Philharmonic is delighted to be working with Roger and Andy Roberts in presenting what will be an unforgettable evening of poetry and music in the intimate setting of Music Room. Along with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s collaboration with The Bootleg Beatles in the main auditorium that celebrates the release of Sgt Pepper, our two events give a great flavour of what will be a fantastic city-wide celebration of Liverpool’s role and contribution to the uniquely creative time that was the Summer of Love of 1967.”

The Summer of Love season will run from April – August 2017. Individual programme announcements will be made in the coming weeks.

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