Construction of Prescot’s Shakespearean Theatre Planned for April

By on Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Construction work on a theatre and college in Prescot town centre is expected to begin in April 2018, following the appointment of contractors by Knowsley Council.

Liverpool-based Kier Construction are to build the 350-seat Elizabethan theatre, housed within an exhibition and education centre.

Knowsley says Kier will strengthen the local economy by working with Knowsley-based supply chain companies. Eleven apprenticeship opportunities and seven new jobs will be created in the construction phase.

Once complete, the Shakespeare North Playhouse will create 19.5 new direct jobs and 203 off-site permanent posts while bringing £5.3m GVA to the Liverpool City Region and attracting approximately 111,000 visitors per year, according to the council.

Funding for the project has come from Knowsley Council and national government, providing £6 million and £5 million, respectively. The council have also agreed to underwrite any funding gap during the construction phase. The Liverpool City Region is currently considering investing £6.5 million.

The Shakespeare North Playhouse recalls the Prescot Playhouse, the cockpit-style theatre that stood at the east end of Eccleston Street in the late 16th and early 17th century. It was the first freestanding, purpose-built theatre of its kind outside London.

The Earl of Derby, seated at nearby Knowsley Hall, was among William Shakespeare’s rich patrons at the time, and it is possible the Bard himself visited the town.

As well as hosting productions of Shakespeare plays and other theatre works in an authentic Elizabethan setting, the complex will be home to an educational programme serving students of all ages, from early years to seniors. Shakespeare North will deliver a masters degree in Shakespearean Performance Practice on the site, validated by Liverpool John Moores University.

Forming the third point of the so-called Shakespearean Triangle – along with the Globe Theatre in London and Shakespeare’s birthplace of Stratford-upon-Avon – the theatre is to be built on Mill Street, between Prescot Bus Station and the Old Mill pub.

Knowsley Council Leader Cllr Andy Moorhead described the appointment of Kier Construction as “another important milestone for the project.”

He added that he was “proud to lead this Council in bringing such rich cultural and educational experiences to our residents and the wider community. It is a really exciting time for Prescot, Knowsley and the Liverpool City Region.”

Shakespeare North hope to have the building complete in time for Shakespeare’s birthday, in April 2020, with the theatre opening to guests and students later that year.


  1. Gordon Ellis

    Wednesday, January 31, 2018 at 10:49 pm

    “to be or not to be that is the question” Sligs and arrows aside what pride.

  2. Allan Jones.

    Saturday, February 17, 2018 at 5:47 pm

    It is amazing what Knowsley Council can find millions of pounds for but are unable to fund the basic needs of Prescot such as the parks and open spaces…although the theatre will be a nice thing to have it is hardly a necessity…open green spaces are.

    • JEdna jones

      Monday, May 14, 2018 at 7:06 pm

      Lottery money is funding the theatre project both council tax payers by all accounts.

      • JEdna jones

        Monday, May 14, 2018 at 7:07 pm

        Not council tax payers

    • Andrew Newsham

      Monday, July 23, 2018 at 10:18 am

      The Shakespeare project is a one in a million opportunity that other towns look on with envy…..I applaud the vision of Knowsley council…’s the backdated view you hold that holds the north back!

  3. Lizzie

    Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at 8:20 am

    Should have used the money to do what we elect them to do. Clean the streets. Daresay the parking costs will go up for them to rub their hands together as one Councillor did when telling me how much money they were making out of car parking. The visitors will, if they come, get a shock.

    • Andrew Newsham

      Monday, July 23, 2018 at 10:23 am

      Knowsley has areas of free parking!!…..get real have you seen how drivers are treated in London?… towed away!… many places can say they have a Shakespeare theatre with a historic connection… will draw in further investment and showcase a historic town of fabulous potential…….this money can be used on other improvements!

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