300-seat Shakespearan theatre given £5m funding

A new theatre staging the works of William Shakespeare will be build in Prescot
A new theatre staging the works of William Shakespeare will be build in Prescot
  • £5m Arts Council funding secured
  • Work on new theatre set to start
  • Shakespeare is believed to have spent time in Prescot as a young man

Council chiefs are celebrating after a multi-million pound grant to pay for Prescot town centre’s Shakespeare Playhouse was given the green light.

The Arts Council yesterday confirmed it has secured £5m HM Treasury funding for the Shakespeare North Playhouse.

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

John Flaherty, Executive Director (Place) at Knowsley Council

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.

Shakespeare is believed to have spent time in Prescot during his youth.

He is thought to have worked as a tutor at Knowsley Hall.