Work will begin on Prescot’s Shakespeare North Playhouse in January after the council awarded the contract for construction of the theatre.
Construction company Kier was given the contract for the £28 million theatre by Knowsley Council’s cabinet during a private session on Wednesday night (November 20).
Ian Tabbron, Interim Chief Executive, Shakespeare North Playhouse said: “Awarding the contract to Kier is yet another positive sign of progress in our journey to complete the UK’s Shakespearean triangle in Prescot.
The vision to create the Shakespeare North Playhouse has been many years in the making and moving into this exciting phase of major construction is a significant achievement.
“The sense of anticipation in the local area is tangible and it will be wonderful to see this project start to come out of the ground early in the new year.”
Kier has been involved with the project since 2018, supporting the design process and conducting enabling works at the site in the town centre.
In that time, costs have spiralled from the planned £19 million, with the council doubling its commitment from £6 million to £12.2 million and the city region providing another £4 million on top of the £6.5 million already allocated.
Central government has also committed £5 million to the project and the council are still looking for contributions from local businesses.
The 350-seat theatre is intended to be the centre of Prescot’s regeneration, which has already seen several new bars and restaurants open in the town.
Among those will be the Imaginarium Bistro, scheduled to open in the redeveloped Market Place on November 29, just down from the theatre site.
Work on the theatre is expected to be completed in just two years, with its opening coinciding with Knowsley’s turn as Liverpool City Region Borough of Culture in 2022.
Peter Commins, Managing Director of Kier Construction (North West) Ltd. said: “We are delighted to be involved in this project and to be part of team that will deliver a major cultural asset for the north of England.
“Working on a development as high profile and prestigious as this is an absolute honour and I know I speak for the entire team when I say that we are excited to be able to complete the work we have started here and see this wonderful building come to life.”