Our History

Timeline 1911-2016




1911

Building was built in 1911 and was originally opened as a concert hall named the ‘Crane Hall’.

1913

The space was incorporated into a five story building which was built for the Crane Brothers to house offices and a music shop. Located above the hall was the music shop which was accessed by a long spiral staircase, still in use today. Crane Hall was originally intended for musical recitals and had a small platform stage to the right of where the rear stalls entrance of the present Epstein Theatre is. The Company later purchased the 130 year old building next door and set about converting it into a stage and fly tower so that the Concert Hall could be converted into a theatre. The theatre could seat 451 people and was used primarily as a home for amateur dramatics, although it occasionally housed professional productions too. Today The Epstein seats 388 and has progressed to being renowned for its rich variety and diverse family programming.

1916

The grade II listed building was officially launched as Crane Hall on February 3rd.

1938

The hall was renamed ‘Crane Theatre’.

1967

The theatre was under risk of closure until the Liverpool Corporation saved the space for local people and bought the building from the Cranes family.

1967

During the summer the theatre was closed for a £7,000 refurbishment. A new apron stage was constructed with entrances and exits either side. The Front of House bar was reorganised so that it could be used as an art gallery and buffet. The lift, still in use today, was installed from street level for customer and performer use.

Sept 1968

The theatre reopened and was renamed Neptune Theatre after the Roman God of the sea, due to Liverpool’s long held maritime connections. A production of ‘An Enemy of the People’ was the first show in the new theatre.

1969

The building was enhanced by back stage being refurbished and the whole building rewired. Mechanical lifting gear was installed for use of the safety curtain.

2005

Due to health and safety reasons the theatre closed and was expected to go through another refurbishment. Due to legal problems the refurbishment could not take place and so the building was closed for a further five years.

Oct 2010

The theatre announced that a £1 million refurbishment was going to take place and be reopened in a years time.

2011

The theatre was officially reopened and called ‘The Epstein’ in memory of Liverpool’s most successful music entrepreneur and Beatles manager Brian Epstein, whose portrait hangs permanently in Brians Bar. Brian was renowned for his contributions to the city’s cultural and music scene, since reopening we have hosted shows ranging from Christmas Panto, The Martini Lounge Burlesque show, Comedy to Drama.

Apr 2011

The Epstein was completed and the first production in the building was BBC’s Radio 5 Live broadcasts for the Grand National.

Feb 2016

The Epstein celebrates its 100 year anniversary.

Sept 2016

The Epstein Theatre received £46,300.00 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting project, called Celebrating the Epstein.