Shakespeare North Playhouse: Family-friendly ‘The Liver Bird’ brings folklore to life

A family-friendly play at Shakespeare North Playhouse asks the question: what if the Liver Birds really did exist? 

The Liver Bird is a play about one boy, his Grandma and a mythical bird you might be familiar with. Charlie J's Grandma teaches him all about the history of his city - Liverpool. He is particularly fascinated by the local folklore about the Liver Birds.

The play is at the Sir Ken Dodd Performance Garden, Shakespeare North Playhouse, on July 23 and July 24.

‘Nans and Scouse mums tend to have a story’

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    John Maguire - writer of The Liver Bird

    John Maguire, the writer of The Liver Bird, said: "I have a nephew called Charlie James, and he formed the basis of Charlie J. I had a great grandma called Grandma Bailey, she's been dead for many years, but she used to take me to the Pier Head when I was a kid when the Pier Head was quite a dump. She used to tell me stories about Liverpool on the bus, so that was a kind of origin story. Nans and Scouse mums tend to have a story, and they'll tell it to you even if you don't want to hear it.

    "We are absolutely overjoyed to be playing the Ken Dodd Performance Garden. As a team, we are very much about community and working together and celebrating storytelling. So, being here, doing it, we are overjoyed."

    “A magical memory”

    Samantha Alton plays Grandma Bailey in The Liver Bird

    Using puppetry and storytelling, this modern-day fairy tale stars local actor Samantha Alton as Grandma Bailey. She said, "A lot of people who will be coming to see the show will be seeing the theatre for the first time as well, so we're hoping that the whole day is just as magical memory for them and we're part of it. I think as well people in Liverpool might think Prescotts is ages away, but it's 15 minutes down the motorway."

    Tom Browning, who plays Charlie J, is a second-year student at LIPA. He said, "It's been a massive learning experience; my accent has been fine-tuned. It's been so rewarding as well. It's been a humbling experience. I can really embed myself in a city, in a culture I'm unfamiliar with. I've been really welcomed."