Plans to create a new focal point for Shakespearean theatre in the UK are moving into its next phase.

The Shakespeare North Playhouse being built in Prescot, Knowsley will complete the UK’s Shakespearean triangle (London, Stratford-upon-Avon. Prescot).

It's hoped it will become a nationally and internationally significant cultural and educational asset.

To mark the start of its next stage, Lord & Lady Derby – whose family has links to Shakespeare - will be welcome specially invited guests to a reception at their home, Knowsley Hall.

Guests attending include renowned historian David Starkey CBE and local actor Josh Bolt.

Credit: Knowsley Council

Construction work has already commenced on the new Playhouse which when complete will provide a 350 seat theatre, modelled on the cockpit-in-court design of the 17th century.

Alongside the theatre will be an outdoor performance garden, exhibition and visitor centre and educational facilities.

Cllr Graham Morgan, Leader of Knowsley Council, said:

The Shakespeare North Playhouse project is one that we are so immensely proud of here in Knowsley. Our history and links to Elizabethan theatre are absolutely fascinating and we want to tell that story as far and wide as we can.

Cllr Graham Morgan
The other purpose built Shakespearean theatres are in London and Stratford-upon-Avon. Credit: Shakespeare North Playhouse

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:

As a Combined Authority we have agreed to invest more than £10.5 million in the Shakespeare North Playhouse because we can see what a transformative effect it will have. This hugely ambitious project will attract jobs and investment, as well as visitors, and will benefit the whole of the Liverpool City Region, as it looks set to become a nationally important visitor attraction.

Steve Rotheram