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Shakespeare North Playhouse historic auditorium takes shape

Contractors are set to start installing the historic oak-framed auditorium at the heart of the new Shakespeare North Playhouse at Prescot.

The theatre, based on Inigo Jones’s 1628 cockpit-in-court design for Charles I, will be able to seat between 320 and 472 people to watch both Shakespeare’s plays and more contemporary work.

Construction work has carried on throughout the pandemic and the multi-milion pound Playhouse is due to open in 2022 when Knowsley celebrates its year as Borough of Culture.

When open it will form a Shakespeare ‘triangle’ with Stratford and the Globe on London’s South Bank, as well as offering educational opportunities.

The 17th Century design will sit within a modern building on Market Street, close to the site of the original Prescot Playhouse which was opened in the 1590s as the only free-standing, purpose-built theatre outside London.

The new theatre's frame has been created by skilled craftsmen at Berkshire-based McCurdy and Co, the company which also built the Globe.

Knowsley Borough Council leader, Councillor Graham Morgan, said: “This is such a momentous occasion for the project as this will be the heart of the Playhouse. This will be where many performances take place and where the audiences will actually sit as they watch and enjoy those performances.

“And we don’t have too long to wait for that moment. Next year, people from Prescot, other Knowsley communities and the wider North West area will be taking their seats in this amazing theatre.”

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