Prescot’s Shakespeare North Playhouse is a step closer to reality after the Arts Council confirmed £5million government funding towards the project.
The funding, which was initially agreed last year, will be used towards creating the £26m, 330-seat Jacobean court style theatre and study centre, as well as education and community resources and exhibition area.
It will also enable administrative offices and catering and hospitality facilities to be created on the site at Prescot.
Construction of the new theatre could start next January, subject to funding.
John Flaherty, Executive Director (Place) at Knowsley Council, said: “This is a fantastic achievement and a key milestone for Shakespeare North Trust and Knowsley Council.
“Not only does it mean we now have £11m of confirmed funding, but it’s also a huge seal of approval and vote of confidence from the Arts Council that the Shakespeare theatre and education centre is a viable and sustainable business.
“It will also strengthen the outline business case submission to the Combined Authority Single Investment Fund to secure a further £6.5m funding towards the development.”
A key patron for Shakespeare was the Earl of Derby, and scholars believe Shakespeare may have premiered a number of his plays at Prescot, which was the only place outside London thought to have had a specially-built indoor theatre at the time.
The new theatre will stand close to the site of the original Elizabethan playhouse.