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Community Curators at Knowsley Hall

Fascinating day for Shakespeare North Playhouse Community Curators

by Lisa Bennett

The Shakespeare North Playhouse Community Curators group recently spent time at Knowsley Hall as part of their specialist training.

Dr Stephen Lloyd, Curator of the Derby collection at Knowsley Hall, presented artefacts to the group and talked about the fascinating history of Prescot, the Earls of Derby and the connections with William Shakespeare.

Dr Stephen Lloyd with Community Curators at Knowsley Hall

Dr Stephen Lloyd with Community Curators at Knowsley Hall

Exploring Prescot’s history

This is all part of the Prescot 1597 project which has brought together a group of creative and inquisitive people with a love of the town’s heritage.

The Community Curators, are exploring and investigating the incredible story of Prescot’s Elizabethan and theatrical history, which culminated in the erection of the only free standing purpose built Playhouse outside London in 1597.

As part of the project, the Curators are taking part in specialist training in curatorial skills, research trips to museums, galleries and historical collections. This is alongside project meetings, research sessions and individual discovery enabling the Curators to uncover untold stories about the town and reconnect the community with its identity.

 

Curators at Knowsley Hall Dining Room

Curators at Knowsley Hall Dining Room

Rosemary Tyler, Community Curator and Prescot historian said:

“It was a fascinating day, it was wonderful to see the amazing artefacts and to listen to Dr Lloyd and his vast knowledge and expertise.”

It’s been a busy month for the group as they recently presented to the Lathom Park Trust and they will be visiting the Lancashire Records Office to see the court rolls from 1597 – important historical documents where there is a reference to the original playhouse in Prescot. The Curators will also be presenting to the Lathom Family History group and visiting Kings College Cambridge to explore the Prescot archive.

Cllr Shelley Powell, Knowsley’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods joined the Community Curators at Knowsley Hall. She said:

“These volunteers are doing something really special, helping to develop the new exhibition space that will be part of the Shakespeare North Playhouse. They are connecting the history of Prescot and Elizabethan theatre to the current day and creating a legacy for Prescot which will be shared with the local community and the hundreds of thousands of visitors to the town for many years to come.”

Artefacts from the Derby Collection at Knowsley Hall

Artefacts from the Derby Collection at Knowsley Hall

The findings of the Community Curators will be shared through pop-up exhibitions displayed across the town, a documentary book, an online archive to be held at Knowsley ARK, along with content and selected loaned objects to be displayed in the new exhibition space at the Shakespeare North Playhouse currently being built in Prescot.

The Prescot 1597 project will run until December 2020 and has received £51,000 funding from the National Heritage Lottery Fund.

Follow @KnowShakespeare for updates from the Community Curators and their work.