His & Hers catches up with rising talent, Lily Almond

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Lily Almond

This month, Nancy Buckland Kirk caught up with Lily Almond about life, love, friendship and an exciting year of music and theatre…

It’s been a while since we caught up with Lily Almond here at His & Hers – last time we had a chat, it was via Skype, during the heady days of working from home and eating out to help out. Lily had impressed us so much with her live music performances at the Arts Bar too, that when we spotted her name appear as a cast member for an all-new production called Sorry, You’re Not A Winner at the Playhouse Theatre, Liverpool, we wanted to know more from a young woman who is not just a talented singer/songwriter, but also a gifted actress with an eye to a future on stage and screen. In 2022, every artistic avenue is open when you have real talent – you no longer have to put one job role at the top of your CV anymore.

Sorry You're Not A Winner

Sorry, You’re Not A Winner is part of The Everyman and Playhouse Theatres’ wonderful autumn and winter role call, taking place at the Playhouse Theatre Studio on 11th-12th November 2022. It is the story of two working class lads, Fletch and Liam, who have grown up together and have been best mates since primary school. It explores their friendship and how it changes when Liam leaves home to go to Oxford University. The play takes place over the course of 8 years, and looks at various moments in their lives when they come together again. It is a coming-of-age story navigating class surroundings, and the complexity of friendship.

The talent on show owes a huge debt to the Young Everyman Playhouse (YEP) programmes, which provides opportunities for young people aged 13-25, across six different strands of theatre production.

I was really excited to sit down with Lily and ask her about the play, her role in it and what the future holds.

theatre production

It’s been a while. What have you been up to since we last met?

‘I’ve been really busy writing, and still playing some live music. I really want to get back in the studio, too, and would love to collaborate with other emerging music artists in the area.

I have also been doing some acting more recently which I really enjoy, and luckily also trained in as part of my degree.  My last stage production was also at The Everyman. Femme was a nearly all-female piece based around the Shakesperean character of Ophelia, from the play Hamlet, who has a really sad narrative with a tragic ending.

Femme enables Ophelia to meet different female characters from fictional history to give her advice about finding her own personal sense of identity. So it was a really uplifting and inspiring story to be a part of.’

Lily, can you tell us more about the role of Shannon in Sorry, You’re Not A Winner?

‘The central story of the piece is really about the relationship between Liam and Fletch, but the female characters are also really important to the story. Shannon is introduced to the audience early on in the via conversations the two young men have about her – let’s just say she is the girl at school everyone fancies!

By the time the audience meets Shannon they get to know who she is – she is bright, engaging, funny, warm and full of confidence, but the passing of time since school also highlights the path she has chosen. Liam is the boy from school she could have seen a future with, but who got away. Fletch is a homebird like her, and probably seemed like a more natural choice at the time.

I think so many audience viewers will relate to the story. It wasn’t originally set as being in Liverpool, but it is for the purposes of this production and it sits well. Firstly, I think there are so many brilliant pieces where there is a bit of a love triangle involved. It is a really commonplace situation for younger people, too, if they aren’t sure who they are yet themselves.

Secondly, I really related personally to the situation of being in a friendship group at school which really changes when time moves on, and the nature of the group alters and shapeshifts. It can be a challenge to keep relationships going when people move on in any way. It can be tough on the person who leaves to find a new way, and hard on the person who decides to stay behind.

Shannon is a really feisty, intelligent girl and I think her own situation is important to highlight – she is just as clever as Liam, but for lots of reasons, University wasn’t really a choice for her at the time. Meeting Liam again reminds her of all of the opportunities she may have missed out on, and I am sure the audience will all be able to reflect on occasions when they have had to make tough personal decisions. I think any central theme with love, friendship and relationships running through it, when done as well as this, leaves a lasting impression.

Shannon is brilliant fun to play: she’s humorous and welcoming, and also as witty as any Scouse girl I have ever met. I hope the audience falls in love with her the way I have.’

The YEP programme is absolutely vital for young performers and writers – how is helping fresh talent to get their work shown?

‘The programme is so supportive of everyone who wants to gain experience in all aspects of drama production and provides a valuable platform for new actors, directors, writers and producers. It is also brilliant for anyone who wants to work behind-the-scenes. I took part in the programme for actors, and it was wonderful not just to gain experience in being on stage, but also to understand all of the roles which are needed to get a production to the stage.

Being in the theatre space also allows you to meet the people doing all of these jobs professionally, so not only is it a great chance to learn, it is also invaluable for networking in the industry. Lockdown hit theatres so heavily, and so programmes like this got fresh talent up and running again. I met Mel the Director of Sorry, You’re Not A Winner during my time on the programme, who has obviously proved to be a brilliant connection for me.

On a personal note, it was also a chance to make friends and be part of something social and uplifting.’

Any future plans you can tell us about?

‘I am so excited first of all for the play to get to the stage, it’s going to feel like such an achievement not just for me personally but for the whole of the cast and the team.

Like I mentioned earlier, I look forward to keeping my music up – it is never far from what I am doing. I do love playing live, but I can’t wait to get in the studio again.

As far as my acting goes, it is a case of getting more experience, being brave and keep auditioning. I would love to take part in other productions, and to find some representation who could guide me through the whole process.

I think one thing I am learning is that no-one discovers you unless you put yourself forward. Being part of this production and especially being based here at The Playhouse, I am reminded that some of the most successful names in the industry, from Julie Walters to Pete Postlethwaite, started their careers at the Everyman and Playhouse Theatres, so it’s a pretty good place to start making your mark.’

After I had a chat with Lily I also caught up with Melissa Ratcliffe, the director of Sorry, You’re Not A Winner to ask her a little more about her work, and the vital role of the Everyman and Playhouse Theatres in terms of their contribution to our cultural community. Originally from Bolton, Mel came to study here at Liverpool John Moores University and fell in love with the city. Mel recently completed her Masters in Theatre & Facilitation at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts and is a graduate of the infamous Young Everyman Playhouse Directors’ course.  

Mel told me: ‘The play will be performed in the recently renovated Playhouse Studio on Williamson Square. It’s really exciting to be in this new space and to tell the story within this intimate setting. The studio space will play host to lots of new work all thanks to Frank Peschier who is the Head of New Works at the Everyman and Playhouse Theatres. Frank works so hard to support new work and champion local talent.  

I am so grateful for the constant support and care from the Young Everyman and Playhouse team. They have been instrumental to my development as a Director and as an individual. The work they do at YEP is so important to so many young people across the city and I am forever thankful for the opportunities and the memories they have given me.’

What can I say? At a time when the trip to the theatre can feel like a bit of a luxury, not only is the ticket price spectacular value, it also enables everyone who invests in one to see a tremendous story, put on by such a talented bunch of young superstars.

Personally, I’m hoping that future bragging rights will enable me to remark, ‘Well, you know, I did see Lily Almond when she first appeared in Sorry, You’re Not A Winner.’ Let’s just say with talent like hers she will definitely be seeing her name in even bigger lights, without ever having to serve two soups, when the curtain calls keep coming.

Sorry, You’re Not A Winner is at the Playhouse Studio on Friday 11th November and Saturday 12th November 2022

Tickets are priced at £8.00 each and more information is available here:


More information about the Everyman and Playhouse theatres can be found here:


For more details about the YEP programme follow this link:


You can follow Lily on Instagram here:


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