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Liverpool Empire commissions 11-story backstage mural

THE Liverpool Empire Theatre has teamed up with mural artists, One Red Shoe to create an art installation backstage at the theatre.

The mural is the largest yet completed by the Warrington based artists. Commissioned by the Liverpool Empire, using part of their Culture Recovery Fund investment, it covers 273 square metres. Starting from a depth of 7 metres underground, rising to a total height of 18 metres.

The Empire’s senior creative learning manager, Natalie Flynn led the project. She said:  “It was a pleasure to work with One Red Shoe on the installation of this beautiful piece of artwork. It’s often said, ‘if these walls could only talk’ and that’s what sparked the initial idea to create a piece of artwork that not only marked that ‘dark’ time but that would also become a lasting legacy, brightening up the building for those who use it regularly.”

The mural features a mixed selection of shows and stars from the theatre’s long history including: Charlie Chaplin, Nat King Cole, Diana Ross and The Supremes, The Beatles, Sarah Bernhardt, Laurel and Hardy, David Bowie, Elton John, Judy Garland, Queen, The Lion King and Wicked, as well as ballets and Shakespeare plays.

Natalie added, “We chose this specific stairwell as it leads up to our rehearsal room on the top floor. It’s been incredible to see the members of our Youth Theatre enjoy the mural. They truly are standing on the shoulders of giants, literally passing by all of those iconic productions and inspirational performers on their way ‘up’.”

“It was starting to look like the Chaplin performance was just a rumour,” One Red Shoe artist Fiona Osborne said “I contacted Chaplin experts, searched biographies and accounts for evidence with no luck, then I finally spotted a tiny article in the Music Hall and Theatre Review dated 2nd November 1900, it mentioned The Eight Lancashire Lads clog dancing troop and their ‘excellent exhibition’ at the Empire Theatre. We’d already verified that Chaplin was in the group at that time, he was only 11 years old when he performed on the Empire stage.”

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