Shakespeare North CGI November 2017

Shakespeare North construction set for February start

Knowsley Council has confirmed pre-construction work on the £26m Shakespeare North theatre in Prescot will begin in February next year and a main contractor will be named in December.

Place North West reported last month that three bidders – Kier, Morgan Sindall, and Wates – were lining up for the project in Prescot town centre, which includes a 350-seat, 30,000 sq ft Jacobean court-style theatre, a study centre, education and community resources, and exhibition space.

The theatre will be based on designs by early modern architect Inigo Jones, who also designed the Banqueting House in Whitehall.

Archaeology work is expected to start on 4 December, ahead of a main contractor award later in the month. The project is set to complete in April 2020.

The council approved amended plans for the theatre at a planning committee meeting yesterday. The project was first granted planning permission in April 2016, but was resubmitted for approval after a series of design changes, including the removal of its basement and a 20m increase in height.

The building’s footprint was also been increased while changes have been made to its cladding and glazing design.

Knowsley Council has provided £6m towards the scheme, with the remainder coming from the Combined Authority Single Investment Fund, and private backers. It is understood that all the remaining funding for the project has now also been secured.

The professional team for the project 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 Graham Morgan, Knowsley’s cabinet member for regeneration and economic development said: “This is another significant milestone for this iconic development and a positive reflection of the council’s ambitious growth plans.

“The council, its private sector partners, the local community and local businesses are all working together on bold plans to conserve the history of Prescot while transforming the town into an even more attractive place for people to visit and spend time.

“The Shakespeare North Playhouse will help us to achieve this, attracting visitors and investors to Prescot, Knowsley and the wider Liverpool City Region.”

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