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The Shakespeare North Playhouse in Prescot, Merseyside, will be one of the north of England's most high profile cultural and educational assets. Now under construction on site, the development will include a 350-seat theatre, outdoor performance garden, exhibition and visitor centre. It is scheduled to open in 2022.
The Shakespeare North Trust was founded by Richard Wilson and David Thacker. Its patron is Edward Stanley, 19th Earl of Derby. In 2007 it submitted a £20 million National Lottery bid to fund the complex, but was unsuccessful.
In April 2016, Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council granted planning permission for a £19 million, 350-seat playhouse. £6 million is being provided by the council, and a governmental contribution of £5 million was announced in the 2016 Budget, with other funding to be provided by private investors. Construction was planned to start in 2016, with the opening planned for 2019. In November 2016, the start of construction was put back to September 2017.
The historical Prescot Playhouse, the inspiration behind the project, existed between the mid-1590s and 1609, probably on Eccleston Street. No architectural plans of that theatre survive, however. The new theatre's layout is based on the 1629 design by Inigo Jones for the Cockpit-in-Court theatre in the Palace of Whitehall, London. The lead architects are Helm Architecture.
The four-storey complex will be built on the site of Mill Street car park, to the north of Prescot Parish Church. Knowsley Council will provide the land for the complex. It will also provide one of its buildings, for conversion into student living quarters.
- Paton, Maureen (26 March 2007). "Shakespeare's Globe goes North". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
- Belger, Tom (27 January 2016). "9 things you need to know about the Shakespeare theatre plans in Prescot". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
- Snow, Georgia (22 April 2016). "£19m Merseyside Shakespeare theatre gets green light". The Stage. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
- Phillips, Josh (15 November 2016). "Shakespeare North Playhouse Moves Closer With Key Appointments". Building Design & Construction Magazine. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
- Graham, Elspeth; Tyler, Rosemary (2011). ""So Unbridled & Badde an Handfull of England": The Social and Cultural Ecology of the Elizabethan Playhouse in Prescot". In Benbough-Jackson, Mike; Davies, Sam (eds.). Merseyside: Culture and Place. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. pp. 109–139. ISBN 1-4438-2964-1.
- Perraudin, Frances (22 April 2016). "Shakespeare North theatre plans given go-ahead". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
- Cole, Emily (25 April 2016). "Shakespeare North granted planning permission". WhatsOnStage.com. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
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