The new Shakespeare North Playhouse is a step closer to reality with the next phase of construction work heralded by the arrival of a 190ft crane.
The 350-seat Jacobean-style cockpit theatre will complete a Shakespearean triple when it opens in 2022, joining the Globe in London and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre at Stratford.
It is due to be launched to coincide with Knowsley’s year as Borough of Culture.
And along with providing a historic theatrical setting for the works of the Bard and others, the Playhouse complex will also offer learning opportunities for all ages, a ‘black box’ studio space, outdoor performance garden, exhibition centre and visitor attraction.
It stands close to the site of an original 16th century theatre - the only place in England outside London to have an indoor playhouse during the period. The Earl of Derby was a key supporter of Shakespeare.
The new crane, which towers above the Prescot skyline, is due to help with work including lifting the main streel roof trusses – each weighing almost 10 tons.
It is expected to remain on site until Easter 2021.
Cllr Graham Morgan, Leader of Knowsley Council said: “It’s amazing to see the crane on site; 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. It’s a really exciting time for everyone involved because now we are starting to see this once in a lifetime opportunity coming to life.”