Shakespeare North takes steps forward

PLANS for the opening of The Shakespeare North Playhouse in Prescot have taken another positive step forward as Knowsley Council’s Cabinet has confirmed the formal appointment of the Shakespeare North Trust as operator of this landmark venue.

To mark this latest milestone, an updated image of how The Playhouse will look, when complete, has also been released.

The Chair of the Shakespeare North Trust, Max Steinberg CBE, said: “I am delighted to have reached yet another positive milestone for the project and that we can now focus squarely on the opening of The Playhouse and welcoming the public through the doors.

“I know that my fellow Trustees share my excitement and anticipation ahead of the opening.  After many years in planning and construction, this will be a momentous occasion – not just for those directly involved but for the wider community of Knowsley and the Liverpool City Region.

“The Shakespeare North Playhouse is quite simply a once in a lifetime project and the Trust is both honoured and excited to be formally appointed as the operator for this transformative venture.”

The Trust’s appointment includes taking a 25-year lease on the building, entering into a management agreement and agreeing to meet certain targets for engaging local companies and ensuring the local community has access to The Playhouse and all it has to offer.

This appointment will now also allow for the recruitment of a senior leadership team to run and manage The Playhouse.  This will include the appointment of a chief executive which is expected soon.

A spokesperson for Knowsley Council said: “With the opening of the Playhouse now only just over a year away, appointing an operator for the venue is a really important step forward.  Although the Trust has been involved in the project throughout, as major funders, the Council needed to be assured that the Trust was capable, skilled, and prepared to oversee the operation of such a significant project.”

The Shakespeare North Playhouse will open to the public in the summer of 2022 and will host a variety of work including high profile Shakespearean drama, comedy, music, and many other genres of performance.

The project has been funded through significant capital investment from Knowsley Council, the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, and central government.  In addition, more than £1 million has been raised through private donations including a significant contribution from the Sir Ken Dodd Charitable Foundation Trust.