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Shakespeare North Playhouse appoints new creative director

Shakespeare North Playhouse has appointed its first creative director ahead of the new theatre opening in 2022.

Laura Collier will be in charge of programming at the Prescot venue, which stands close to the site of the town’s original Tudor playhouse.

The £24m theatre project is currently under construction in Mill Street.

Its opening will coincide with Knowsley’s year as Liverpool City Region Borough of Culture and will complete what is being described as a ‘Shakespearean Triangle’ with the Globe in London and RSC at Stratford.

Collier’s previous roles include head of studio at the National Theatre, senior producer at Battersea Arts Centre and associate producer at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh. Most recently she has supported Shakespeare’s Globe and the Leeds Playhouse as an executive producer and consultant.

She said: “The creation of Shakespeare North Playhouse at this time represents a vital statement about the role theatre can play in building and enabling the creativity of communities locally, nationally and internationally.

“I’m beyond excited to be part of the team that will set out the vision and strategy, working with the citizens of Prescot and creative partners from further afield. I look forward to the conversations, work and theatre that will emerge in the coming years.”

Collier will take up her role from next month.

The Shakespeare North Playhouse will house a bespoke wooden framed 350-seat Jacobean 'theatre-in-the-round' created by craftsmen at Berkshire-based McCurdy and Co, the company which also built the Globe.

Plans for the inaugural season of plays are still being finalised, but it's understood the opening production is likely to be A Midsummer Night's Dream.

The Earls of Derby were patrons of Shakespeare, who is believed to have written A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the 6th Earl’s wedding in 1595.

Meanwhile last month it was announced the venue is set to benefit from an enhanced donation of £700,000 from the Ken Dodd Charitable Foundation to create an outdoor terraced performance garden.

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