A Statement from Epstein Entertainments Ltd – 2023

It is with the deepest sadness that we confirm the forthcoming closure of the Epstein Theatre on 30 June 2023. The final performance will be Laura Belbin on 28 June 2023.

Liverpool City Council own the freehold of Hanover House (formally known as Crane Buildings) in Hanover Street. They lease the entire building to a commercial property landlord and then sub-lease the Epstein Theatre back from them.

Due to unprecedented financial pressures on the council’s budget, the historic financial deal between the two parties is unsustainable hence the council’s decision not to renew or extend the current lease, or to offer any further financial support to the operators of the theatre.

Epstein Entertainments Ltd were awarded the contract to operate the Epstein Theatre on behalf of the Council in October 2018. Due to the legalities and lengthy discussions with Liverpool City Council to reach an acceptable management agreement for both parties and the subsequent Covid pandemic closure of the theatre, Epstein Entertainments Ltd did not occupy the theatre until October 2021.

In the management agreement, the council covered a proportion of the rent, service charge, utilities, and maintenance work up to this date. Since the 1960’s the council has always financially supported and subsidised the theatre, currently this figure is in excess of £100,000 per year.

Further requests for Liverpool City Council’s support of £50,000 per year, for the next five years to save the venue have been unsuccessful. The final decision about this request was given on Friday 2 June 2023.

Epstein Entertainments Ltd is solvent and has been trading profitably during its period but has come to the end of its management agreement with Liverpool City Council and following lengthy negotiations directly with the landlord, who requires a minimum of a five-year lease, Epstein Entertainments Ltd have unfortunately been unable to reach a workable agreement on the costs of the rent and service charge, and with the added utility bills plus essential theatre maintenance and upgrades, the running costs and overheads are unworkable for a venue of this size, without financial support.

Epstein Entertainments Ltd has continually searched for funding opportunities including advice from Arts Council England and investigated alternative company structures. All revenue streams have been maximised and all possible efficiencies have been made.

All productions up until Friday 30 June 2023 will go ahead as planned. For all productions after Friday 30 June, Epstein Entertainments Ltd will be aiming to transfer performances to other Liverpool City Region venues. For more details please see this page.

Ticket holders for cancelled performances will receive an automatic refund.

Epstein Entertainments Ltd will continue to consider solutions and explore any further avenues to reopen and preserve this unique and listed theatre.

Epstein Entertainments Ltd wish to thank all the staff who have helped bring the theatre back to life since 2021, its customers for supporting the much-loved theatre and the producers for creating some magical memories.