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Funding confirmed for Shakespeare Playhouse

by Lisa Bennett

Arts Council England has confirmed the £5 million HM Treasury funding for the Shakespeare North Playhouse to be built in Prescot town centre.

The funding was pledged by the Chancellor of the Exchequer as part of the budget announcement in May 2016. Since then, Knowsley Council and Shakespeare North Trust have presented a robust and sustainable business plan to Arts Council England to endorse the funding.

John Flaherty, Executive Director (Place) at Knowsley Council said:

“This is a fantastic achievement and a key milestone for Shakespeare North Trust and Knowsley Council. Not only does it mean we now have £11m of confirmed funding, but it is also a huge seal of approval and vote of confidence from the Arts Council that the Shakespeare theatre and education centre is a viable and sustainable business.


“It will also strengthen the Outline Business Case submission to the Combined Authority Single Investment Fund to secure a further £6.5m funding towards the development.”

The funding will be used towards creating an iconic 330-seat Jacobean court style theatre and study centre, education and community resources and exhibition area, the supporting administrative offices and catering and hospitality facilities.

Subject to funding, construction of the new playhouse is expected to start January 2018.


About the Shakespeare North Playhouse

The theatre and International College will be the first of its kind to focus on Shakespearean performance and practice.  Students will study and perform his work in the very place where Shakespeare’s company practised their craft.  The Playhouse will also provide educational and cultural opportunities for local people and attract actors, writers, artists and students from all over the world.

The building design combines a modern exterior with a historically accurate reproduction of a Jacobean cockpit style theatre that seeks to recreate a design by one of the leading architects of the time, Inigo Jones. As such it will be the only example of a Jacobean theatre outside London’s Globe and will complete the Shakespearian triangle of Stratford Upon Avon, London and Prescot.