Welcome again to Then and Now, where each week we compare images of Merseyside streets, landmarks and buildings from bygone days with how they look today.

Our main image this week shows the newly opened Liverpool Playhouse extension, brightly lit up against the night sky in September 1968.

The new section, constructed in glass and concrete, transformed the front of the theatre which was built in Williamson Square in 1866.

The extension was constructed round three cylinders, the largest of which is two storeys high and rises from the ground floor. Each cylinder is supported by a central column.

The playhouse started life as the Star Concert Hall before occupying the Williamson Square theatre in 1866. It was essentially a music hall. Electricity was installed in 1898 along with a new auditorium and foyer.

Playhouse, Liverpool- Then Heaton Park, Manchester - Now

Liverpool Repertory Company bought the theatre in 1911 for £28,000, becoming the first rep company in the country to own their theatre outright.

The theatre was renamed the Liverpool Playhouse in 1916 and underwent a series of minor alterations up to the 1960s.

Liverpool Playhouse has launched the careers of some of the biggest stars of stage and screen over the years.

Noel Coward and Gertrude Lawrence were child actors there, while Michael Redgrave, Richard Briers and Rex Harrison all appeared in early productions.

Anthony Hopkins played a prison warder in Brendan Behan’s first play The Quare Fellow, staged by the playhouse in September 1964.

Hopkins’ breakthrough came the following year when Laurence Olivier invited him to join the Royal National Theatre as his understudy.

*Hundreds of pictures from an unforgettable decade are packed into Clive Hardy’s fascinating book Around Merseyside in the 1960s. It’s available at £9.99 plus postage and packaging.

Just go to inostalgia.co.uk to place your order or ring the hotline on 01928 503777.