The construction of the Shakespeare North Playhouse in Prescot reached another milestone as the masonry of the building nears completion.
Construction of the theater began in February 2020 and despite the impact of Covid-19, on-site work continued to progress successfully throughout the pandemic.
The striking building rose from the ground and is now an important landmark in Prescot and beyond. To mark this ongoing milestone, Liverpool City Area Underground Mayor Steve Rotheram was asked to lay some of the final masonry.
“It was great to be able to dust my trowel and lay some of the last bricks at the beautiful Shakespeare North Playhouse,” said Mayor Rotherham, who started his career as an apprentice bricklayer.
“Our region is the cultural capital of the country, and the new performance venue will give people from across the UK and beyond another fantastic reason to come and visit.
“It will be a brilliant resource for the local community, especially aspiring actors and local school children. I know it will play a big part in Knowsley’s year as our borough of culture in 2022.”
Mayor Rotheram was joined on site by Knowsley Chief of Council Graham Morgan and Melanie Lewis, the new executive director of Shakespeare North Playhouse, who also helped with the final bricklaying.
Ms Lewis said: “The Shakespeare North Playhouse will be such an exciting cultural attraction for Prescot and the Liverpool City area and I am delighted to be part of the celebration of this milestone.
“To play a small role in the construction of the building is a real honor and to know that at this time next year we will have shows and much more inside the building, it’s so exciting. ”
Cllr Graham Morgan added: “Once again I am amazed at how much progress has been made since my last visit. Each step of this development brings us one step closer to opening the doors of Shakespeare North Playhouse. It makes me so proud to know that we will soon be welcoming the folks from Prescot, Knowsley and beyond to be a part of this wonderful theater. ”
The crown jewel of Shakespeare’s North Playhouse is the extraordinary wood-frame theater, installed earlier this year by specialists McCurdy and Co. Based on the iconic 17th century “cockpit-in-court”, it will accommodate between 320 and 472 seats.
Once completed, the Playhouse will also offer an inclusive education program, digital gallery, visitor center, and additional performance spaces, including an outdoor performance garden.
The Shakespeare North Playhouse will open next year and will be a highlight of Knowsley’s year as Liverpool City Region Borough of Culture in 2022.
Even before its completion, the Playhouse is already having a significant impact on the local area with the relocation of new businesses from Main Street to Prescot, the construction of 1,500 new homes in the area, and significant investments in the public realm and the improved connectivity.
The Playhouse is expected to attract more than 100,000 visitors each year once established, providing a boost of over £ 5.3million to the local economy and a range of employment opportunities linked to the project.