BUDGET: £5m for Shakespeare North theatre in Knowsley

The Chancellor provided £5m towards the £26m project to create a Jacobean style theatre in Prescot, subject to business case and planning approval.

Osborne said the North West “had the fastest growing arts, entertainment and recreation sector in the country in the year to 2014.”

Knowsley Council approved its own £6m investment for the project on 10 March. The plans are now scheduled to be considered by the planning committee on 21 April.

Prof Kathy Dacre, chairman of the development board of the Shakespeare North Trust, said: “The fantastic support we have received today from the Government, announced in the Chancellor’s statement, is great news for Knowsley and its continued regeneration. It endorses the vision we’ve developed over many years with the full support of Knowsley Council to bring a Playhouse and a world-class university postgraduate performance programme to Knowsley, connecting its present and future to one of our greatest playwrights William Shakespeare.

“In this, his anniversary year, we are delighted to be another big step closer to turning our shared vision into a reality.

“We are also immensely grateful to the local authority for their steadfast leadership in nurturing the project at all stages and the transformative £6m commitment they made last week, together with their gift of the land on which the theatre and college will be built.

“This is a remarkable partnership between ‎an educational charity and local, and now national government, and we look forward to moving forward and announcing next steps and further support in the coming weeks.”

In other cultural announcements, Osborne said the government was now inviting bids from Northern cities and towns to host the Great Exhibition of the North, as trailed at the Autumn Statement in November.

It was also announced that the government will now consider supporting the creation of ‘International Screen School Manchester’, to increase the skilled workforce for the screen-based media sector in the North.

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OK. So this is our token for the £70m given to Manchester for “The Factory” is it?

By Mike

Give it a rest Mike, surely you are aware of the ten of millions of public pounds that have been ploughed into Liverpool over the last decade?

By Max

Nobody in Knowsley wants this, what a waste of money.

By Knowlsey

I hope there will be a direct bus from Canny Farm and Page Moss to this, to avoid long traffic queues. The people of Knowsley are crying out for more Shakespeare

By Gregg

This is a brilliant announcement and will be a game changer for Prescot helping to bring life and vitality back to the town that it is currently on its uppers.

By George

This would have been better on Liverpool waterfront.No disrespect to Prescot,but I would prefer to go to Liverpool and enjoy the facilities there prior to a visit to this.This is tokenism of the worst kind and patronising to the North.We would not see somewhere like Prescot get this project in the South.If this was given to Aylesbury,people would rightly say,Why?

By Elephant

Come on Max…you know that isn’t true. Mcr is Georges ‘pet’ project and before that it was Tony Blairs. We always relied on EU funding but lost most of it because we couldn’t raise the matching ‘private’ funding (OK these EU crumbs where some of UK taxes).

By George

I fully agree Mike. It’s a disgrace and an insult. But I think we have all come to accept them now.

By George

TO knowdsley
You speak for yourself ????