London’s Helm Architecture will design the £19m Shakespeare North theatre and education centre in Prescott, Knowsley.
Thelanning permission for the development Construction on the postgraduate International University College and theatre in Prescot, near Liverpool will start in November 2017.
The heart of the building will be a theatre, commemorating the first Elizabethan purpose-built indoor theatre outside London.
Helm will work with architects Austin-Smith: Lord to design the centre. Helm Architects has extensive experience designing museums, theatres and visitors centres across the world.
Shakespeare North’s chairperson Peter Scott said, “Our vision to have a playhouse in Prescot began 12 years ago. We are delighted at the support and interest we have received in turning this vision into a reality.”
The Trust’s aim is to celebrate the Elizabethan heritage of the Liverpool suburb of Knowsley and plans to bring Shakespearean theatre back to an area which played an important and often neglected part in the history of Elizabethan drama. The patronage of the Earls of Derby who lived at Knowsley Hall provided vital support in the development of Shakespearean drama.
Learning about Shakespeare
The design for the playhouse will be inspired by original 1629 plans by influential 17th Century architect Inigo Jones. Jones was also a theatrical designer and collaborator of playwright Ben Johnson. The venue will seat 350 people. In addition, a highlight will be the education centre allowing students to learn more about the work and life of The Bard.