First look inside new multi-million-pound Shakespeare North Playhouse in Merseyside
The only 17th-century-style timber theatre outside London, its opening programme ranges from A Midsummer Night’s Dream to Johnny Vegas.
and live on Freeview channel 276
A crucial part of Knowsley’s Borough of Culture celebrations, the new multi-million pound venue in Prescot will open its doors to the public from 15-17 July.
The opening weekend will see free dance and drama performances alongside classical music, DJs, crafts and tours.
While the opening season programme of performances includes A Midsummer Night’s Dream, A Christmas Carol, Johnny Vegas, and Jimmy McGovern.
The venue offers the fully accessible Sir Ken Dodd Performance Garden, exhibition gallery, a 60-seater studio theatre, learning centre, exhibition and events spaces, and a café and bar.
In support of the Playhouse’s commitment to the local community and access to the arts, a proportion of tickets will be available on a ‘Pay What You Decide’ basis, with some reserved for Knowsley residents.
What’s been said
Melanie Lewis, chief executive at Shakespeare North Playhouse, said: "Prescot's got this fantastic history; 400 years ago, it had a theatre it was one of the only theatres outside of London at the time. So, it's always been a place of culture; it's always been a place of theatre, performance.
“We're just repeating history. We're bringing that back for the people of Prescot. They know that this is their theatre. I think that our job now is to confirm that message to the rest of Liverpool, to the rest of the North West."
Siobhan Noble, project producer at Shakespeare North Playhouse, said: "I just think it's brilliant for the area. As someone from Liverpool myself, if this kind of space had been available when I was a kid it just would have been life changing."
Councillor Tony Brennan, of Knowsley Council, said: "This has been, if you like, the anchor in terms of all the other stuff that has gone on in terms of regeneration. We reckon up to 140,000 people are going to visit on a yearly basis, and it's going to attract nearly £5.3 million worth of inward investment.
“We haven't been resting on our laurels, we've been able to develop the infrastructure in terms of the railway station and the bus interchange. It's also about education, training and employment."