The Shakespeare North Playhouse in Prescot hosted a special launch event this week for ‘Open Doors’, a national initiative delivered by Build UK which enables visitors of all ages to take a look behind the hoardings on a range of ‘live’ construction sites and see what a career in construction is really like.
Students from Knowsley College were met at the site by Cllr Graham Morgan, Leader of Knowsley Council and Melanie Lewis, Chief executive of the Shakespeare North Playhouse as well as Cllr’s Margaret Harvey (Cabinet Member for Children’s Services) and Tony Brennan (Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development) before being taken on a comprehensive tour of the development, which is due to open in 2022.
The Playhouse is one of 16 building sites operated by Keir which will will be opened to the public across England, Scotland and Wales this week. Anyone interested in visiting the site can do so on the afternoon of Friday 8th October. Booking is essential and must be done online in advance at the Open Doors website
The Shakespeare North Playhouse will open its doors in 2022 with a capacity for between 320 and 472 seats. The brand new theatre is based on the iconic 17th century ‘cockpit-in-court’ designs of Inigo Jones. It will boast an inclusive education programme, digital gallery, visitor centre and additional performance spaces including an outdoor performance garden.
In addition to performances of classic Shakespearean theatre, the Playhouse will host a variety of comedy, music and theatre performances from a wide variety of artists. The fascinating connections between Prescot, Shakespeare and Elizabethan theatre establish the historic foundations for The Shakespeare North Playhouse, which will be one of the North of England’s most high profile cultural and educational assets when it opens next year.
Once established, the Playhouse is expected to attract more than 140,000 visitors a year bringing a boost of more than £5.3m to the local economy (GVA) and a range of employment opportunities directly and indirectly linked to the project.
Cllr Graham Morgan, Leader of Knowsley Council said: “How fantastic to open the doors to this unique project and showcase just how diverse a career in the construction industry can be. I’m sure it will inspire lots of young people to think differently and consider a future role for themselves. It’s also an exciting time for the community to be able to see the progress that has been made on the much-anticipated Shakespeare North Playhouse.”
Melanie Lewis, Chief Executive of the Shakespeare North Playhouse said: “It takes an incredible amount of work to bring a project like The Shakespeare North Playhouse to life and the sheer amount of construction skill and expertise that has gone into this project is quite remarkable.
These Open Doors sessions are an amazing opportunity for young people who aspire to a career in this sector to see a little bit of the magic that happens in taking a building like this from plans on paper, to where it is now. It helps to demonstrate the impact projects like ours can have on the wider community and on the opportunities available to local people. This is a great initiative and I hope the young people who visit this week feel inspired about the next steps in their own careers.”
Peter Commins, regional director for Kier Construction said: “Open Doors Week is an ideal opportunity to showcase a live construction site to local communities and given the high level of interest in our Shakespeare North project, this was the ideal project to launch the event. The event demonstrates a wide range of construction techniques being implemented on projects and provides valuable insight into the vast amount of career opportunities in construction.”