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Knowsley reveals Borough of Culture plans for 2022

Artist Luke Jerram’s stunning Gaia installation, a celebration of Edward Lear and the official opening of Shakespeare North Playhouse will form part of the Knowsley Borough of Culture celebrations next year.

An exhibition of leading Impressionists, a public light spectacular, a show dedicated to illustrator Quentin Blake, a mass participation event celebrating sport and the return of Knowsley Flower Show and Feelgood Festival are also planned.

Knowsley takes over the year-long title on January 1, following Halton which is the current holder.

And borough bosses are bringing together a busy programme of events throughout 2022 – investing a substantial £850,000 on top of the £200,000 received from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority which instigated and administers the title.

The Knowsley year will be launched with a visit to Kirkby from Gaia, a 23ft inflatable globe whose surface replicates a satellite-eye view of the Earth’s surface using detailed NASA imagery, with some continents and parts of the world crystal clear and some covered in cloud.

It is accompanied by a soundscape created by BAFTA and Ivor Novello award-winning composer Dan Jones.

The illuminated installation previously attracted tens of thousands of visitors when it came to Liverpool Cathedral in 2019.

The Earl and Countess of Derby with two of the Owl and the Pussycat sculptures at Knowsley Hall. Photo by Gareth Jones

An Owl and the Pussycat sculpture trail will take place next summer, its giant 6ft statues celebrating poet Edward Lear’s close links with the Stanley family and Knowsley Hall where he wrote the famous verse.

And the borough’s flagship new £30m Shakespeare North Playhouse at Prescot, designed around a faithful recreation of a 400-year-old wood-framed theatre at its heart, will be officially opened next summer too.

Cllr Shelley Powell, Knowsley’s Cabinet Member for Communities & Neighbourhoods, says: “The full programme is still being assembled – with dates and attractions being added all the time. Already though, the year is looking so exciting.

“It’s quite remarkable to think Knowsley will host some of these amazing events and moments. We’re so familiar with seeing such big events and attractions in Liverpool city centre but to think we will have so much to see and do here, is just fantastic.

Shakespeare North Playhouse will be officially opened next summer

“It’s going to a very special year and one I think we'll all remember.”

Liverpool City Region Borough of Culture was established by Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram in 2018 and rotates annually around the city region’s local authorities.

The award comes with £200,000 of funding to support an events’ programme and is part of the mayor’s 1% for Culture programme which earmarks £300,000 per year - 1% of the combined authority’s core funding – to activities designed to promote culture and creativity.

Steve Rotheram says: “Our region is the country’s cultural powerhouse, and the Borough of Culture programme allows us to showcase what makes each area so special.

“I’ve been really excited by the enthusiasm and imagination Knowsley is showing in its plans for next year. I’ve got no doubt 2022 will be a year to remember for the whole region.”

There will be an exhibition of the work of Quentin Blake. © Quentin Blake.

Knowsley Council leader Graham Morgan adds: “Borough of Culture is more than just a year of events and things to look forward to – although that’s really important too right now.

“We’ve seen in other places, like Liverpool, the tangible benefits that cultural events can have for the people and businesses, and quite simply we want that for Knowsley and for our communities.

“We want to provide things our residents can enjoy and learn from, but we also want people to visit, to spend money in our shops, eat out, visit the theatre.

“The potential impact of the year on our economy and communities is phenomenal – that’s why we're putting everything we can behind it, to make 2022 a catalyst for positive change here after COVID 19 and hopefully create a lasting legacy for the borough.”

To keep up to date with the Knowsley Borough of Culture programme visit the website HERE


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