Shakespeare North Playhouse is built in the style of a 17th-century timbre theatre. Credit: Andrew Brooks

Sneak peek inside the £38m Shakespeare North Playhouse

Prescot’s highly anticipated theatre is opening to the public on 15 July, but you will not have to wait until then to see what it looks like inside.

New images by Andrew Brooks showcase the interior of Shakespeare North Playhouse, which has completed its fit-out after main contractor Kier handed over the project in May.

Shakespeare North Playhouse is built in the style of a 17th-century ‘cockpit-in-court’ theatre and is constructed using reclaimed hardwood. The main theatre’s capacity is 450. Knowsley Council anticipates the venue will attract more than 140,000 visitors a year.

Shakespeare North Playhouse also has a smaller, 60-seat studio theatre, an exhibition gallery, a learning centre, a café, a bar, and an outdoor performance garden.

Helm Architecture was the lead architect on the project, with Austin Smith Lord as the support architect. Mott MacDonald was the structural engineer and Arup was the theatre consultant.

The lobby space at Shakespeare North Playhouse. Credit: Andrew Brooks

Melanie Lewis, chief executive of Shakespeare North Playhouse, said: “Revealing the building is wonderful.

“It’s a culmination of more than a decade of work by so many people, and yet in many ways, this is just the start. Experiencing the building again but through the senses of our audience and our community will be a joy. I’m feeling their excitement and curiosity. It’s a privilege.”

Lewis described the building as “a work of art in its own right” and said she hoped people would be inspired by the space and by Shakespeare.

“I am eager to see how people will explore their creativity here, be they seasoned performers, upcoming artists, or people exploring theatre for the first time,” she said.

“This space belongs to the people and it’s time to welcome them in.”

Knowsley Council Leader Cllr Graham Morgan echoed Lewis’s excitement.

“I couldn’t be more excited or prouder to be able to share these images and for people to get their first glimpse inside this remarkable building,” he said.

“Delivering a world-class cultural venue for the people of Knowsley has been a long-held dream of the council and to see the Shakespeare North Playhouse almost ready to open its doors is a very special thing.”

Knowsley Council contributed £12.2m towards the creation of the building.

Shakespeare North Playhouse was also supported by £10.5m from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, £5m from Arts Council England, £3m from the government’s Covid-19 Cultural Recovery Fund, and more than a £1m from private donations.

The regional combined authority is also supplying another £8m to improve local transport infrastructure around the playhouse.

Click any image to launch the gallery. All images by Andrew Brooks.

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One of the best things to happen to Prescot in years, now businesses, property owners , and the local authority need to pull together and upgrade the lovely buildings near the theatre, so there are bars and restaurants able to cater for a new profile of visitor to Prescot who will have money to spend in the town, also a new hotel might be useful.

By Anonymous

This is a fantastic coup for Prescot. I hope that all our great North West actors patronise it on a regular basis.

By Elephant

Looks very impressive.

By Anonymous

How many seats do you have with backrests? I’m really looking forward to the theatre opening, but being disabled, I would not be able to sit on a bench.

By Ann

Stunning. Cannot wait to see this in person. John Philip Kemble would be very impressed!

By Anonymous

Looks great but worry about the location will it attract audiences

By George

Nothing wrong with the location nice part of the Northwest

By Anonymous

Bench seating will not be suitable for the older generation. A great pity.

By Stephen Culley

Fantastic looking scheme. Brilliant for both Prescot and Knowsley!!

By Neil

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