A 58-metre-tall crane has been installed on the site of the Shakespeare North Playhouse in Prescot as main construction work begins on the £27m project.
The crane will be on site for more than a year and will be used to lift the steel roof trusses for the building, which each weight close to 10 tons, into place.
The arrival of the crane signals the beginning of construction following completion of enabling works by Kier, which arrived on site in October 2018.
The enabling work was originally expected to take 16 weeks allowing construction to start last spring, but the timeline has since been amended.
Kier beat off competition from Morgan Sindall and Wates to be named as lead contractor for the project in January 2018.
The 350-seat, 30,000 sq ft Jacobean court-style theatre in the town centre is expected to open to the public in 2022.
The development is funded by Knowsley Council, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and the Treasury, which are contributing £12m, £10m and £5m respectively.
A further £8m is being provided by Liverpool City Region’s Strategic Investment Fund, which aims to support improvements to Prescot’s transport interchange.
Referring to the crane, Cllr Graham Morgan, leader of Knowsley Council, said: “It’s a really visible and significant sign that the Shakespeare North Playhouse is happening. Kier Construction are on site and we will now see this magnificent building coming out of the ground.
Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor for the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, added: “The Liverpool City Region is the country’s culture capital and we’re investing in projects like Shakespeare North to make sure we stay the best.”