David Morrissey has received wide acclaim for his role in the hit BBC drama Sherwood.
The Kensington-born star played DCS Ian St. Clair in the six-part series, which ended on Tuesday. The show’s plot followed a manhunt in Sherwood Forest, after two murders boiled over in a fractured former mining village in Nottinghamshire.
After garnering rave reviews, the drama was awarded, as was David’s performance. It is the latest hit in a long career on the big and small screen for David, whose background in the performing arts came from the Everyman and Playhouse Youth Theater in Liverpool.
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Founded in the 1970s, the Everyman Youth Theater operated until 1993, when the Everyman went into liquidation in the 1990s. At its peak, the youth theater reportedly had over 300 members.
A ‘new’ Everyman Youth Theater was established in the late 1990s, before the Everyman and Playhouse Youth Theater was established in 2006. In 2012 the organization was renamed the Young Everyman Playhouse, encouraging young actors, directors , marketers, producers, technicians and writers.
We take a look at the careers of some of the renowned writers and performers who have come through Everyman and Playhouse Youth Theater over the years.
Kirkby-born Stephen has worked with acclaimed directors Martin Scorsese, Guy Ritchie, Michael Mann and Shane Meadows and starred alongside a plethora of stars including Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz, Daniel Day-Lewis , Leonardo DiCaprio, 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 credited the Everyman with starting his “love affair” with the theater and told The Times in 2019 that Liverpool actor Andrew Schofield introduced him to the theatre.
He said: “Drew lived opposite my grandmother’s house. He was huge at Scully when he came to see my first school play – Treasure Island. I was Jim Hawkins. He said to my mom and dad, “Your Stephen has talent,” and he introduced me to the Everyman Theatre. That’s when my love story really began.
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 Prize for her play Shamrocks and Crocodiles, before her play Indigo was performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).
After further success on stage, Heidi wrote numerous 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 eleventh season of the show hit the screens earlier this year, while the production of the twelfth is underway. Heidi currently lives in Cambridge with her husband and fellow Scouser Stephen McGann.
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Most famous for his dual roles as Professor Quirrell and Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Ian Hart began performing at Everyman Youth Theater while at Cardinal Heenan High School. Born in Knotty Ash in 1964, Ian went on to study video production at South Mersey College.
Prominent in theater during the 1980s, Ian toured with the Jim Morris production in Playhouse’s Pinnocchio Boys and starred in Willy Russell’s Stags and Hens. He then gained cinematic recognition for his performance as John Lennon in the 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 BBC Liverpool drama The Responder as Carl Sweeney, opposite Martin Freeman.
The McGann Brothers
Joe, Paul, Mark and Stephen McGann have all become familiar faces on television and in film. Born in Kensington into a family of Irish descent, they all got into acting thanks to the Everyman Youth Theatre.
Stephen became best known for his role as Dr Turner in Call the Midwife, written by Heidi Thomas. Joe has starred in the ITV comedy The Upper Hand and the soap opera 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 the cult classic Withnail and I in 1987, 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 Doctor Who TV movie. Since then, Paul has appeared in a number of TV shows and films, including a recurring role on 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.
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 enter the industry after watching Ken Loach’s 1969 classic Kes on television.
David joined the Everyman Youth Theater while at De La Salle School and made his first appearance in a play about the Toxteth Riots. At the Everyman, he befriended the McGanns and Ian Hart and also served on the theater’s board of directors.
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 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 television. Over the years, he’s 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.
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 acclaim for her role as Simone, alongside Bob Hoskins.
His 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 nursing 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 UK broadcasting. She said: “I remember being a teenager when Channel 4 was born… They are a voice for people who weren’t heard then and still are.”
Although he was not a member of the Everyman Youth Theatre, the former James Bond star raised by Wirral credits acting as a “huge influence” on his career.
While promoting Quantum of Solace in 2008, Daniel told 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 away from home. for me at the time. It was an inspiration for me to see plays there and to be behind the scenes of the theatre.