Knowsley Council has been awarded an £80,000 grant from Historic England as part of the Prescot High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ). The funding will help to create and deliver community-led cultural activities in Prescot over the next three years.
As part of the activities, the Prescot Cultural Consortium is leading on a storytelling themed project entitled Act Two: The Stories of Prescot.
With its Elizabethan past, links to William Shakespeare and its pottery and watchmaking industries, Prescot has plenty of tales to tell and the local community will play a crucial role in contributing their own individual stories.
Starting this summer, stories will be gathered from across Prescot’s communities, exploring personal experiences, the history of the place, local heroes and characters, folktales, events, and much more.
The town’s much-loved Elizabethan Fayre will become the heart of a new Storytelling Festival as a programme of events, performances, and digital content is developed to celebrate Prescot’s history and heritage alongside contemporary life in the town.
One of the landmark celebrations will be the opening of The Shakespeare North Playhouse in the summer of 2022, when Knowsley celebrates its year as Borough of Culture.
Cllr Tony Brennan, Knowsley’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development said: “The council’s ambition has always been for Prescot to be a thriving and buoyant town centre, a place for people to visit, to spend time and to enjoy themselves. The town already has so much to offer, with new bars, restaurants and independent shops and these cultural activities will help to build on that and offer even more ways for the local communities to get involved, to enjoy Prescot and to help to shape the town.”
Laura Collier, Creative Director and Programmer at The Shakespeare North Playhouse added: “Prescot’s history and heritage make it a really unique town, and this funding and the planned activities will help more people get creatively involved. Through the Storytelling Festival and Fayre, we will come together to celebrate our high street, heritage and contemporary lived experiences. This is such an exciting time for the town and we are essentially starting a new chapter in Prescot’s story as The Shakespeare North Playhouse opens and we start to shape new stories that will be talked about in many years to come.”
The plan for Prescot’s cultural activity has been developed by the newly established Prescot Cultural Consortium which is led by The Shakespeare North Playhouse and representatives from Prescot Business Club, Knowsley Community Curators, Prescot Festival of Music and the Arts, Prescot Parish Church, Imaginarium Theatre, Prescot Museum and Knowsley Council.
This is part of the High Streets Heritage Action Zones’ Cultural Programme, led by Historic England, in partnership with Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The Cultural Programme aims to make the country’s high streets more attractive, engaging and vibrant places for people to live, work and spend time. It is part of Knowsley Council’s £3.1 million Prescot High Street Heritage Action Zone scheme which will run until March 2024.