LIVERPOOL’S Royal Court is continuing its search for new script writing talent with a brand new Playwright Development Programme and they are looking for writers to take part.

Since November 2018, the theatre has been running the Stage Wright Nights in the Royal Court studio. These are nights where scripts can be submitted to be read by professional actors under the guidance of a professional director.

The Stage Write Nights have been the starting point for a number of studio and main house productions including: Masquerade, Pig, Knee Deep in Promises, My Fairfield Lady and Yellow Breck Road.

In a bid to find more new writers the Stage Write team, led by Producer Jess Bolger, are looking for people to join the new Playwright Development Programme. With the help of professional writers and directors, this programme is all about developing writing skills and creating exciting new work for production.

Facilitated by Karen Brown, a professional screen, stage and radio writer, the course will begin in January 2020 and will meet two evenings a month for nine months. The programme is completely free and is open to anyone living or studying in Merseyside.

To apply for the course, individuals will need to submit a ten-page sample of writing for theatre. All entries will be read and shortlisted candidates will be invited for a chat with the Stage Write team.

Jess Bolger, is keen to get the course underway: “The Stage Write Nights have been a really good way for us to see new writing talent and this Development Programme will give writers the opportunity to take their work to another level. This is a chance for anybody out there who has written a script but is still keen to enhance their skills and make their work more appealing to producers and audiences. We are looking for a wide range of styles as we are not looking for something that will necessarily be produced here, we are more interested in developing individuals.”

The course application closing date is Monday 25 November 2019.

Writers can contact or go to for more details.

WHEN Anthony O’Brien launched Profici, a full-service marketing agency based in Liverpool, just under a year ago, he had two core goals: to create a company culture that enticed experts at the very top of their game to come and work with him, thereby creating valuable opportunities for North West professionals, and to help his clients in building good, sustainable businesses.

Anthony, who is a former athlete turned entrepreneur, had previously founded Beneficial Marketing, a successful marketing business which he ran for five years. However, when he was returning to work after his honeymoon, he realised that sales at his company had dipped slightly while he’d been away, as he was the person responsible for going out and bringing in new business.

This sparked the idea that as Liverpool has such a great pool of talent, Anthony could bring the right people together to build a business that was less dependent on his skills. He said: “You’re only as good as your employees! When I was launching Profici, I was on a mission to find the best talent I could, with the magic number of 50 experts in mind. My plan was that when I had the right people on board, I’d roll Profici out nationwide as a franchise.”

It took Anthony 18 months to find all of the leaders in their field who he wanted to work with, and to put the systems in place to launch Profici (which takes its name from the Latin word: Proficio, meaning to assist, to advance and to make progress). In October 2018, Profici was launched, offering businesses the option of working with a full service marketing agency with a strong digital offering and a far broader range of experts on hand than your average agency.

Anthony explained: “At Profici, we’re honest, we’re reliable and we do a very good job. The people we have on board are all specialists in their field, and we have the right people for the job. For example, we’ve got six different photographers, so whether a client needs food photography, music photography or architectural shots, we’ll use exactly the right professional to get the best possible result.”

Given his background in athletics (Anthony was a sprinter in his youth and has retained a keen interest in the importance of physical fitness) it’s not surprising that he sees parallels between the world of sport and business, saying: “I’m a great believer in building a team of people who are much better than you are. I look at it like building a football team – finding the best people and putting them in the right positions and bringing out the very best in your team.”

In just under a year, Profici’s turnover and employee numbers have quadrupled (with the firm now employing six members of staff and 60 freelancers) and for Anthony, who is planning to roll out the business nationwide with franchise opportunities from December, this is just the beginning.

The entrepreneur is excited to grow his business, which offers a range of services including marketing, digital marketing, website design, SEO, advertising, photography, branding and social media management, and is keen to ensure that more national brands are using North West talent.

Anthony says that one of the best things about building the business has been creating so many opportunities for the local freelancers who work with Profici. He is also relishing working with a growing list of clients, saying: “I don’t claim to be an expert in anything, but one thing I do seem to be good at is sitting down with clients and identifying solutions to their problems. I love sitting down with a client and presenting ideas that they never would have thought of. For me, that’s always an incredible moment.”

The entrepreneur says that Profici’s growth has exceeded his expectations and that he’s looking forward to the next chapter – having a national presence while continuing to support the North West talent pool that he credits with playing a big role in his company’s success.


By Nigel Smith

In her programme note, author Rona Munro describes the dilemma she was faced with on being asked to write a new stage version of Frankenstein. There have been so many previous adaptations in every possible medium that she needed to find a new angle.

Her solution was to place the 18 year old author at the centre of the story and, in so doing, she has arguably created a new monster in the form of Mary Shelley herself.

In a way, what Munro does here is to tell two stories at once; that of the book itself and another about the psychology of Shelley during the writing process. The result is somewhat confused but certainly very creepy.

Eilidh Loan plays the young writer, scuttling about the stage pushing a writing desk about, as she weaves in and out of the plot she is laying. If she had been used as a simple framing device and, maybe, observed the action from an eerie atop the set, then this layering may have worked. However it is her characters who spend most of their time high up on the second tier of the set, with her centre stage for much of the time, interjecting, commenting, sometimes explaining and now and again interacting with the likes of Frankenstein and his monster.

Frankenstein himself, played with considerable lightness of touch by Ben Castle Gibb seems a distracted, tragic almost Byronesque character, whilst Michael Moreland’s very physical portrayal of the monster would not look out of place in the Royal Ballet’s version.

Almost the star of this production is its design. Becky Minto’s impressively architectural set is all balconies, windows and layers. Its clean lined sculptural form, adorned with leafless trees, comes to vivid life under Grant Anderson’s dramatic lighting. Meanwhile it is Simon Slater’s composition and sound design that gives the show most of its atmosphere, and delivers the necessary occasional electrical shock to the audience.

Director Patricia Benecke keeps all the plates spinning in the interwoven narrative, but never quite achieves anything approaching tension or suspense. Munro says that she hopes this play ‘terrifies you’. What it does is to intrigue and tease, and very occasionally to startle.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a Sellador production and is at the Playhouse until 16th November, after which it continues touring nationwide with dates booking through to March 2020.

Rating: Three Stars


Image by Gareth Jones

THE festive season is officially underway at Liverpool ONE, following a huge street party filled with panto performances, live music and an enchanted train journey.

Featuring the talents of more than 380 performers, from local choirs to celebrity panto favourites, ONE Big Street Party kicked off the Christmas season this evening (Friday).

Taking centre stage at Liverpool ONE this Christmas is the Polar Adventure, a magical land train experience on Chavasse Park, where passengers are treated to festive entertainment, hot chocolate and Christmas arts and crafts.

As well as the chance to be among the first to ride the Polar Adventure, party-goers were also given a glimpse of what expect from Liverpool and Wirral’s pantomimes this year.

Home-grown talents, such as actress Claire Sweeney, comedienne Crissy Rock and former Emmerdale star Sammy Winward, took to the stage on South John Street to treat the crowd to a first look of their performances before the curtains go up next month.

Adding to the festivities were a collection of local choirs performing a series of seasonal favourites on Sugar House Steps, including Liverpool Show Choir, Sing Me Merseyside, Pop Vox Choir and Kaboodle, while artists from Liverpool International Music Festival (LIMF) also showcased their talents throughout the evening.

Donna Howitt, Marketing Director at Liverpool ONE, said: “We’re extremely excited to have launched Christmas here at Liverpool ONE – this year promises to be one to remember, with a jam-packed schedule of events and activities to keep visitors entertained throughout the season.

“Kicking it all off with a huge street party for everyone to enjoy was the perfect way to launch our festivities and we were treated to some fantastic performances from our panto stars and local musicians – they are a true testament to the city’s unbelievable talents.

Much-loved favourites such as Bar Hutte – complete with festive ‘carol-oke’ – also makes its return underneath the iconic, 30 metre-tall Christmas tree on Paradise Street, offering live music and a tempting menu of festive cocktails

Donna added: “Christmas in Liverpool goes from strength to strength each year and we’re now looking forward to welcoming both new and returning visitors as the countdown to the big day itself gets underway.”

To book tickets for the Polar Adventure, visit:

THE Florist on Hardman Street, is celebrating the sensational response to their brand new menu with a fantastic introductory offer – but you will have to be quick as places are booking up fast!

The menu was made for sharing, so the team at The Florist have decided to share your bill with you and offer 1/3rd off  your total food bill when you book through the link below.  The offer is available on selected dates and runs to 14th December.

1/3rd off! Book here:

Whether you are booking a celebration or want a mini Asian escape for two, secure a table and enjoy a taste of the orient at a fraction of the cost. 

Guests have been wowed with the varied selection of vibrant dishes, which include an impressive showcase of small plates, large plates and sushi make the menu ideal for sharing with friends, family and colleagues, day or night.

Tasty dishes packed with flavour and laid-back style create a talking point for the table, including the show stopping Bao Bun Boards with a choice of Five Spice Duck Leg, Tempura Vegetables or Korean Fried Chicken from £13.95. Guests can also enjoy delicious dishes such as Chicken Katsu Curry (£11.95), Salmon and Avocado Sushi Rolls (£6.95 for 5 pieces) and the Candyfloss Tower (£6.95) for a sweet treat. The menu has been designed to ensure all can enjoy the sociable experience of dining at The Florist, with an array of dishes for dairy free, non gluten, vegetarian and vegan dietary requirements.

If guests are spoilt for choice from the amazing dishes, the Set Menu for £24.50 per person or the Vegan Set Menu for £22.50 is a great option to enjoy 4 dishes pre-selected from the menu. Plus, when dining on a set menu, guests can enjoy a famous Rhubarb in Bloom cocktail for just £5.50! Kids can enjoy a taste of the menu too with a choice of Ramen or a Bento Box and dessert for £6.95. Sundays are a traditional affair with a bottomless twist; enjoy a comforting Sunday Roast with bottomless Prosecco, Bloody Marys or Tribal Ale for £10 extra per person.

Executive Chef, James Scott, commented: “Our guests have embraced our new menu and the feedback we have had so far has been truly fantastic, with many customers rebooking straight away!   The food looks and tastes spectacular and the sharing element of the menu has brought a new dynamic to the tables”

To discover what’s new on The Florist Liverpool’s menu, view the menu here. To book a table and enjoy 1/3 off food, visit or click here. General bookings, including Christmas parties, can be made via The Florist website, the My New World loyalty app or by calling 0151 294 4695.

THE City of Liverpool College has collaborated with Tate Liverpool to deliver an event for students to find out more about career paths in the creative industry, ahead of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s ‘Discover! Creative Careers Week’.

According to the Creative Industries Federation, the creative industries are the fastest growing part of the UK economy, accounting for more than two million jobs, a number which has increased by 30% since 2011. In addition, creative jobs are future-proof, with 87% of creative jobs at low or no risk of automation, an advancement which is increasingly threatening many other industries.

Running from 18th to 22nd November, the Discover! Creative Careers Week will see 40,000 young people from around the country aged 11 and over invited to take part in events that will provide them with a glimpse into the creative industries.

In Liverpool, students from schools across the city region joined The City of Liverpool College at Tate Liverpool to take part in a day of practical workshops alongside inspirational talks from Tate Liverpool as well as other influential employers and SMEs from the creative industries., The students also enjoyed a guided tour of the gallery during their visit.

Students had the opportunity to quiz representatives from high-profile organisations such as John Lewis, The Royal Standard, UAL Awarding Body, CASS Art and the Bluecoat, as well as an artist, photographer and a graphic designer, to find out more about career pathways available in the creative industries.

Elaine Bowker, principal and chief executive at The City of Liverpool College, said: “The creative industries are incredibly important for our economy, and are growing all the time. However, all too often creative subjects and career pathways are not prioritised at school, despite the talent and passion that so many young people have.

“Whether it’s photography, fashion, graphic design or architecture, we want to encourage our students to pursue the career that they want. It is only by making them aware of the careers available to them with events such as this that we are able to do so, helping inspire and encourage our city region’s next generation of creatives.

“We are incredibly proud of our collaboration with Tate Liverpool, which is just one example of the ways that we work with organisations to ensure our students have the best possible opportunities and access to employers. We hope that these young people leave this event with the motivation to pursue their dream job.”

Debbie Goldsmith, curator, early years and families at Tate Liverpool, added: “The collaboration with The City of Liverpool College is vital to reach out to as wide a range of young people as possible, to showcase the opportunities which exist in the creative industries. At Tate we want to inform and inspire people with what we do, and particularly young people, and this event gives us a platform to directly connect with that generation and make clear the benefits of a creative career.”

LIVERPOOL Chamber of Commerce held its highly anticipated annual dinner and awards, celebrating the city region’s business leaders and innovators.

Sponsored by Turkish Airlines and hosted by Granada Reports’ Victoria Grimes, , the awards, held at Afield stadium, recognised the organisations and individuals who encapsulate the responsible business agenda, while contributing to the dynamic and sustainable economic growth of the city region.

Among the winners were construction and waste management firm, The Carroll Group, software development consultancy, Mashbo, rail transport providers TransPennine Express and Merseyrail, waste incineration specialists Inciner8 and James Battle, who took home two awards including the Local Hero Award and another for his business, Nationwide Management Services. Clarke Energy won the prestigious Chairman’s Award.

Paul Cherpeau, chief executive of Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, said:  “We have an abundance of outstanding businesses and leaders in the Liverpool City Region and it was a struggle for all the judges to narrow down the winners, who represent those individuals and businesses who are making a real impact in their respective communities, as well as creating economic growth. The real change makers who are shaping the city region for the better.

 “It is important to commend the achievements of all of our nominees and our local business community more generally. The Liverpool Chamber Awards recognises those dynamic businesses who make significant economic and societal impacts in the city region.”

Chair of MediaCom UK Karen Blackett was keynote speaker on the evening, giving an inspiring speech about the strength diversity can give organisations.

The full list of winners:

  • The Carroll Group – Responsible Employer of the Year Award
  • Nationwide Management Services – Workplace Health & Wellbeing Award
  • TransPennine Express and Merseyrail – Equality & Diversity Award (joint winners)
  • Inciner8 – Exporter of the Year Award
  • Mashbo – Digital & Technology Award
  • James Battle – Local Hero Award
  • Clarke Energy – Chairman’s Award 


THE new-look River of Light festival starts on Friday (November 1) bringing to the city a brand new light festival and a night of fireworks.

Here is your guide to everything you need to know.

What is River of Light?
River of Light is a nine-night festival of light, colour and spectacle, bringing together large-scale art commissions, created by artists from around the world, to Liverpool city centre. This builds on the success of The Wave which lit up The Strand in 2018, and saw 50,000 people walk through the triangular installation.

One of the nights will also see the return of the hugely popular mid-river fireworks display wowing people on both sides of the Mersey. Last year it attracted crowds of 120,000 and brought in £3.9million to the economies in Liverpool and Wirral.

When is it?
The festival runs from Friday 1 to Saturday 9 November. The fireworks will take place on Sunday 3 November.

Why aren’t the fireworks on 5 November?
This is a major event, and, as large crowd numbers are expected, road closures will be in place. Due to the disruption caused when closing part of The Strand, the decision has been made to hold the event on Sunday, and therefore won’t impact on people travelling on Tuesday.

Is Liverpool working with Wirral again?
Yes, the fireworks element of River of Light is in partnership with Wirral Borough Council.  There will be two simultaneous displays, one from the waterfront in Liverpool and one as part of Wirral’s Borough of Culture year in New Brighton.

What time is the display and when can I see the installations?
The display will start at 6.30pm on Sunday 3 November and will be finished by 6.45pm. The majority of the installations will be lit up from 5-10pm each night. For full details of each artwork and the times they can be viewed, visit

Is it free?
Yes, everything is free. Liverpool City Council and Wirral Borough Council are proud to stage this free, crowd-pulling major event.

Who is responsible for the fireworks display?
Titanium Fireworks manages the display and is renowned as one of the leading fireworks companies in Europe. The team is behind acclaimed national events including the Mayor of London’s New Year’s Eve party, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, the launch of Hull’s City of Culture year and the opening ceremony for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Will there be music?
Yes – there is a synchronised soundtrack to the display, and this year it is made up of artists or songs that have had a Liverpool connection in 2019. These include Bruises by Lewis Capaldi who performed at Croxteth Park, Le Freak by CHIC who joined Nile Rodgers to headline this year’s Liverpool International Music Festival and Use Somebody by Fusion headliners Kings of Leon.

Where is the best place to see the fireworks?
For Liverpool, head to the waterfront – in and around the Pier Head, Riverside Walkway and the Royal Albert Dock Liverpool, up towards the M&S Bank Arena. For Wirral fireworks, please head to the display at New Brighton near to Fort Perch Rock. Alternatively download a map from or the River of Light Facebook event page.

Is there accessible viewing?
There are a limited number of spaces in the Museum of Liverpool for those with accessibility requirements. Anyone wishing to use this facility should collect a wristband upon entry to the museum. This is on a strictly first-come, first-served basis.

In Wirral there is a designated viewing area with an unrestricted view for the fireworks display by Marine Lake, New Brighton. Those who require access should speak to a steward on the night.

Is there pre-firework entertainment?
In Liverpool, crowds are encouraged to visit the light installations, and get the selfie of the season before and after the firework spectacular.

In Wirral, there will be plenty to see and do for all the family from 5pm. The electrifying Spark! will entertain visitors to New Brighton with live music, movement and lighting performances outside the Floral Pavilion and illuminated stilt walkers will greet the crowds along Marine Promenade.

Is there food and drink?
There will be are a small number of concessions on the Pier Head. They will include hot drinks, crêpes, burgers and shumai.
There are a number of food and drink retailers at New Brighton offering a range of food and hot drinks.

Will there be toilets?
Yes. In Liverpool there are a number of toilets located across the Pier Head and around Royal Albert Dock Liverpool. In Wirral, they will be located at Riverside Bowl car park.

Are there road closures on the 3 November?
Due to the nature of the event, there will be road closures on Sunday 3 November 2019.

The closures are:
8am to 8pm – Canada Boulevard, Brunswick St, Water St and St Nicholas Place. Mann Island will be closed at its junction with Georges Dock Way.

5pm to 8pm – The Strand, Goree, Strand Street, Albert Dock entrance, Gower Street, Kings Parade and Princes Parade will be closed from the junction of William Jessop Way up to St Nicholas Place. 

Liverpool ONE Car Park will be accessible until 5pm and will re-open after the display. Those inside the car park can exit heading south.

There will also be access for residents and businesses where and when possible.

In Wirral, Marine Promenade in New Brighton will be closed from the Marine Point roundabout throughout Sunday 3 November, until after the event. There will be access to local businesses only, during the day.

How should I get there?
For tips on planning your journey, head to

Anyone planning to get the train, should remember that Lime Street and Edge Hill stations are closed 2-3 November and a replacement bus service is in operation.
Anyone planning to drive should allow extra time to get into the city centre due to road closures around the Churchill Way flyovers deconstruction works.
If you are watching the fireworks display at New Brighton, public transport is recommended to get to and from the event as parking is limited.

Where can you find more information?
Head to or join in the conversation on Visit Liverpool, Liverpool City Council and Culture Liverpool’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Use #RiverofLight #WinterLights on socials.

How can Liverpool City Council and Wirral Borough Council afford to stage events like this when they are facing huge budget challenges?
River of Light is shared between Liverpool City Council and Wirral Borough Council and is offset by support from Merseyrail, Stagecoach, Arriva, Royal Albert Dock Liverpool, CBRE, Able AI, RLB360, Exchange Flags, Liverpool Parish Church and the Mayoral Club. Last year, River of Light delivered a £3.9 million economic boost through spending from visitors to the event. Although the councils do not benefit directly from this, it does help support jobs in the visitor economy. The event also confirms Liverpool City Region’s reputation as a leading visitor destination.

Wirral’s Borough of Culture programme is supported by funding from Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and Arts Council England.


A MASTERPLAN to guide the development of Liverpool’s Commercial Business District into a world class business location has been approved by Liverpool City Council.

A Spatial Regeneration Framework (SRF) has been endorsed, which could lead to the delivery of up to 2m sq ft of new commercial space in the city centre over the next 15 years.

The Commercial Business District SRF has identified 12 key sites as areas for potential expansion in a bid to address the district’s falling supply of Grade A office space and enable Liverpool to compete with other UK cities in attracting major companies.

The proposal, which went out to public consultation in the summer, also provides an overarching vision, design guidelines and development principles to direct future growth and enhance connectivity with neighbouring areas such as Peel’s £5bn Liverpool Waters scheme and the emerging Ten Streets in North Liverpool.

The document was developed by Arup as project lead and town planning consultants, architects and masterplanners shedkm, heritage consultant Rob Burns, and property consultant Worthington Owen.

The city council, together with the Liverpool BID Company, and other public and private sector partners, jointly commissioned the SRF with a brief to enhance the vibrancy and attractiveness of the area.

The overriding objective of the wider commercial Commercial Business District – SRF is to facilitate business growth, inward investment and job creation, while successfully delivering place-making with environmental enhancements, improved connections and complimentary retail and leisure uses, which make the area a desirable place to be, day and night. This is essential to grow the city’s office market and facilitate a step-change in Liverpool’s office economy.

Chief Executive of Liverpool BID Company,Bill Addy, said: “Liverpool BID Company’s investment in the SRF demonstrates our ongoing commitment in safeguarding the future growth of the Commercial Business District for the benefit of our levy paying businesses and the wider city economy. It is fantastic to see further progress being made.
“As our city region’s commercial epicentre, the SRF is essential if we are to compete with other business districts not just in this country but around the world. Engagement during the public consultation period was very encouraging, and it was made clear by the business community that a new masterplan for the area is needed.”

Liverpool City Council is already involved in a £200m scheme in Pall Mall, with Kier Property and CTP, that will provide 400,000 sq ft of new Grade A office space, complimentary retail and leisure uses, and a new high-quality public realm. It will potentially create more than 2,000 new and safeguarded jobs in the commercial district.

It is also investing £150m in new road infrastructure in and around the district, and the city council recently obtained planning consent to create a new cruise terminal at nearby Princes Dock.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “To be a world class business location a city needs a commercial district that can offer opportunity, flexibility, connectivity and quality – in its buildings and its streets.
“The supply of Grade A office space is critical to attracting major investors and jobs and this Spatial Regeneration Framework will underpin our long term vision to deliver that.”

BE-MORE, the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s UCAS-style apprenticeship portal, has been shortlisted for a prestigious European award.

The UK’s first local one-stop web portal for apprenticeships was one of only ten projects selected by a Citizens’ Jury, from more than 400 entries across Europe.

Be-More  was created earlier this year and brings together apprenticeship opportunities from employers so that prospective apprentices in the Liverpool City Region can find the information they need in one place.

In total, more than 5,000 people have used the on-line portal since its launch in March 2019.

The Liverpool City Region will be up against rivals from Germany, Ireland, France, Italy, Holland, Sweden and Lithuania at the ‘Innovation in Politics Awards’ event in Berlin on Wednesday, 4 December, 2019.

Be-More was shortlisted by a Citizens’ Jury made up of more than 1,000 people.

Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, who started his career as an apprentice bricklayer, has long campaigned for parity of esteem for vocational training and promised to develop an apprenticeship portal in his 2017 manifesto.

Speaking about the nomination, he said: “We are determined to ensure that we have the right apprenticeships in place across our city region, delivering the opportunities our people need and the skills our employers are crying out for.  Be-More has been hugely successful in enabling would-be apprentices to find suitable apprenticeships and we have been continually improving it, with additional functions and information.  I’m very proud that our innovative approach has been recognised at a European level.”


LIVERPOOL’S Royal Court is continuing its search for new script writing talent with a brand new Playwright Development Programme and they are looking for...


By Bob EdwardsSebastian Ziani de Ferranti was born in Liverpool at 130 Bold Street Liverpool in 1864. His Italian father, Cesare, was a photographer...