Arts Council confirms £5m funding for Shakespeare North
Arts Council England has confirmed £5m of HM Treasury funding will be given to the Shakespeare North Playhouse to be built in Prescot town centre.
The money was pledged by then Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne as part of the budget announcement in May 2016. Since then, Knowsley Council and Shakespeare North Trust have presented a business plan to Arts Council England to endorse the funding.
Plans to build a £26m Shakespeare North Playhouse and education centre in Prescot were approved by Knowsley in April 2016.
The Government money will be used towards creating a 330-seat Jacobean court style theatre and study centre, education and community resources and exhibition area, the supporting administrative offices and catering and hospitality facilities.
In November, Helm Architecture was appointed as lead architect for the scheme, with Austin-Smith: Lord as supporting architect. Mott MacDonald is to provide structural engineering services. AECOM will provide M&E engineering and cost consultancy services and has also been appointed as acoustics consultant.
John Flaherty, executive director of place at Knowsley Council, said: “This is a fantastic achievement and a key milestone for Shakespeare North Trust and Knowsley Council. Not only does it mean we now have £11m of confirmed funding, but it is also a huge seal of approval and vote of confidence from the Arts Council that the Shakespeare theatre and education centre is a viable and sustainable business.
“It will also strengthen the outline business case submission to the Combined Authority Single Investment Fund to secure a further £6.5m funding towards the development.”
Subject to funding, construction of the new playhouse is expected to start January 2018.