Home Culture Knowsley Shakespeare North Playhouse Celebrates its First Birthday!
Melanie Lewis and Cllr Graham Morgan celebrate in front of cake, while surrounded by balloons.

Shakespeare North Playhouse Celebrates its First Birthday!

by Lisa Bennett

Shakespeare North Playhouse, the world-class cultural landmark situated in the heart of Prescot, is celebrating its first birthday.

Since its grand opening in July 2022, the Playhouse has captivated audiences, transformed communities, and solidified its position as a beacon of artistic excellence in the theatrical world.

Home to the only 17th-century style, timber-built “Cockpit” theatre outside London, the Playhouse was built entirely during the pandemic thanks to public funds and donations.

The crowning achievement of the past year came at the 2023 The Stage Awards, where Shakespeare North Playhouse was proudly named ‘Theatre Building of The Year’. This prestigious accolade stands as a testament to the innovative design and architectural prowess that has created a venue like no other in the country.

Since its opening, the Playhouse has fast become a cultural landmark. It has welcomed over 100,000 visitors (10% of these visitors have never set foot in a theatre before), staged 1,316 performances and hosted 149 workshops and events.

The Playhouse has welcomed 63, 914 audience members – 1 in 4 of these were Knowsley residents.

This past year has included an exciting and diverse array of shows, from Shakespeare productions, comedy, music, and the popular ‘Evening With’ events. The Playhouse has also hosted many events and activities for the local community to get involved with, such as open mic nights, writing workshops, young theatre workshops.

Cllr Graham Morgan, Leader of Knowsley Council said:

“Our ambition was to create a landmark cultural venue here in Knowsley for our local communities to enjoy, visit and get involved with, and we have certainly achieved that. I am thrilled with the success of Shakespeare North Playhouse, the shows, performances, events and of course the community engagement. It’s heart-warming to see that so many Knowsley residents have visited the venue and are enjoying this amazing theatre which is right on their doorstep.”

Birthday Events

This birthday weekend Shakespeare North Playhouse is celebrating with some special events.

Associate Artist Shakespeare’s Globe will bring their Olivier Award-nominated Family show Midsummer Mechanicals to Shakespeare North Playhouse.

Imaginarium Theatre will also be performing their production of The Taming of The Shrew  in The Sir Ken Dodd Performance Garden.

Visitors are also invited to free Birthday Bitesize Tours. Led by a member of the Shakespeare North team, this free tour will take visitors through the key spaces of the one-of-a-kind venue.

Shakespeare’s First Folio

Shakespeare North Playhouse is celebrating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s First Folio. The First Folio is the first collection of Shakespeare’s work that was collated and published in 1623. This collection is made up of 36 plays and without it, many of Shakespeare’s most revered works would have been lost.

What’s On at Shakespeare North Playhouse

Theatre goers can look forward to Shakespeare North Playhouse and English Touring Theatre’s co-production of Macbeth, celebrated playwright Lauren Gunderson’s European Premier of The Book of Will and Sir Ken Dodd’s favourite tale The Wind in The Willows. 

Shakespeare North Playhouse opening weekend