Prescot Arts festival to celebrate Shakespeare

The Chandos portrait of William Shakespeare. Picture National Portrait Gallery
The Chandos portrait of William Shakespeare. Picture National Portrait Gallery
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The achievements of Britain’s greatest-ever playwright will be celebrated by a local arts festival to mark a milestone anniversary.

The Prescot Festival of Music and the Arts will have the life and work of William Shakespeare as its theme to mark 400 years since the legendary writer’s death.

The link with the Bard has been chosen for this year’s festival as he has a connection to Prescot, with his patron the first Earl of Derby having his family seat at Knowsley Hall in the town.

Shakespeare-related events at the festival in June will include pop-up theatre at Prescot Carnival by MATE Productions and a Songs from the Shows concert featuring hits from Kiss Me Kate and West Side Story, which are based on The Taming of the Shrew and Romeo and Juliet respectively.

Budding writers are also being asked to take inspiration from Shakespeare with the theme of the festival’s annual short story writing contest being “in a pickle”, a phrase thought to have been coined by the Bard in his play The Tempest.

Other highlights of the festival include a performance by the Swingshift Big Band, an appearance by Nigel Ogden from BBC Radio 2 show The Organist Entertains, and a come-and-sing performance of Mozart’s Requiem by the Prescot Festival Chorus.

This year’s festival, which runs between June 17 and June 26, is also linked to the most famous son of Stratford-on-Avon as the town secured £11m of funding from local and central government in March to realise Shakespeare North’s project to build an Elizabethan theatre and college in Prescot.

The deadline for entries to the short story competition is May 30.

To view the full programme of events, visit www.prescotfestival.co.uk