Knowsley Council has appointed Kier as main contractor for its £26m Shakespeare North theatre, ahead of rival bidders Morgan Sindall and Wates.
The 350-seat, 30,000 sq ft Jacobean court-style theatre in Prescot town centre includes a study centre, education and community resources, and exhibition space. Place North West first revealed the bidders for the project in October last year.
The project has been backed by £5m from the Government, which was first announced by then-chancellor George Osborne in May 2016. The council is also providing £6m towards the scheme, with the remainder coming from the Combined Authority Single Investment Fund, and private backers, subject to agreement.
Knowsley Council said it would underwrite the funding gap over the construction period to allow work to start.
Pre-construction work will begin in April 2018 and is due to complete in April 2020.
Plans for the project were approved by Knowsley Council in April 2016, and an updated design was signed off in November last year. The professional team includes Helm Architecture as lead architect; Austin-Smith: Lord as support architect; Mott MacDonald as structural engineer; and Aecom as M&E, cost, and acoustics consultant.
Cllr Andy Moorhead, leader of Knowsley Council, said: “This is another important milestone for the project and I am looking forward to seeing the start of construction.
“I am proud to lead this council in bringing such rich cultural and educational experiences to our residents and the wider community. It is a really exciting time for Prescot, Knowsley and the Liverpool City Region.”
John O’Callaghan, Kier Construction Northern managing director, added: “We’re excited to be delivering this fantastic scheme for Knowsley Council which builds on our success in the arts and leisure sector, including the recently completed refurbishment and redevelopment of Chester Storyhouse.
“Sitting in the heart of the town, Shakespeare North Playhouse will be a real asset to the local community when complete and we’re looking forward to working with the local supply chain to deliver this project and develop the skills of local people with the creation of 11 new apprenticeships.”