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Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has agreed to become a Patron of Shakespeare North

Gordon Brown has been a keen supporter of the project since 2008 when he invited a group of Shakespeare North Trustees to Downing Street to discuss their vision.

In agreeing to become a patron he writes:

It is a privilege and honour to support Shakespeare North. I am particularly attracted to the project because it will combine culture -and our attempt to understand and inform about our literary roots-with economic regeneration in an area that deserves to be more confident about its future. You will change the lives of thousands of young people by giving them a chance to develop their talents.

In his current role as UN Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon works closely with key partners to help galvanise support for the UN’s Global Initiative on Education, Education First, which aims to achieve quality, relevance, and inclusive education for every child.

He served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2007 to 2010 and is widely credited with preventing a second Great Depression through his stewardship of the 2009 London G20 summit. He was one of the first leaders during the global crisis to initiate calls for global financial action, while introducing a range of rescue measures in the UK. Previously, he served as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1997 to 2007, making him the longest-serving Chancellor in modern history. During ten years at the Treasury, Gordon masterminded many of Labour’s proudest achievements including the Minimum Wage, Sure Start, the Winter Fuel Allowance, the Child Trust Fund, the Child Tax Credit and paid paternity leave. His role in government continued to shape his views on the importance of education as a fundamental right of every child in the world and the key to unlocking better health, greater social stability, more rights and opportunities for women and a higher standard of living.

gsFormer Prime Minister Gordon Brown has agreed to become a Patron of Shakespeare North
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Knowsley to benefit from Single Investment Fund

At last week’s Liverpool City Region Combined Authority meeting, projects designed and submitted by Knowsley Council were given the green light to go through to the next stage of the Single Investment Fund (SIF).

In total, just over £458m of SIF funding is being invested in the City Region over the next five years by the Combined Authority as part of the City Region’s Devolution Agreement with the Government. The SIF is the key funding tool for promoting economic growth for the Liverpool City Region, and will support the delivery of the City Region’s strategic priorities as well as unlock the economic potential and accelerate growth.

SIF bids submitted by Knowsley Council include:

The Shakespeare North Playhouse – The £6.5m funding bid is a contribution towards the £26m costs to construct and develop the Shakespeare North Playhouse in Prescot town centre. The Government has already supported the project by providing £5m of funding, with Knowsley Council also itself committing £6m to the project. The new playhouse will stand just metres from the original site of the only freestanding purpose-built Elizabethan theatre outside of London. As well as being an exciting space to perform plays, the centre will be a magnet for students from all over the world hoping to study Shakespeare and his work. Whilst recognising Prescot’s rich heritage, the development is expected to have a multitude of benefits for the town and the wider area. It is estimated that the theatre and education centre will deliver more than £10m worth of value to the local economy, as well as 210 construction jobs and 57 full-time jobs once the facility opens.

gsKnowsley to benefit from Single Investment Fund
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A Letter to Liverpool from Dame Judi Dench

December 31st 2016

I don’t suppose anyone in our country has failed to note that this has been a Shakespeare Anniversary year and that the anniversary of his death four hundred years ago has sent ripples across the world. Why? Because he is the greatest exponent of the English Language and our language, thanks to the internet, has become a world language.

I have been privileged to speak Shakespeare’s poetry for most of my life, words that describe courage , hope, grief, sorrow and despair and deepen our understanding of life.

This year I have celebrated Shakespeare’s life with the Royal Shakespeare Company and HRH Prince Charles at Stratford…..but amid all the celebrations one thing has pleased me above all and that is the permission granted in the Metropolitan Borough of Knowsley on Merseyside for the erection of The Shakespeare North Playhouse.

What a wonderful celebratory gesture it is that we are building a Shakespearean theatre for the North. Shakespeare as our national poet belongs to everyone. This is particularly exciting for me as my husband Michael was a Liverpudlian and he and all our family have loved this city and this part of England.

The Shakespeare North project is important to me because I believe that great Shakespearean performances can change lives and because I want to help offer hope, vision and an enhanced educational experience to the children of Knowsley and Liverpool. From 2020 everyone in Britain should be able to follow a Shakespeare journey from London to Stratford and then to Knowsley, but only if you join me in supporting this dream.

I have become a Patron of Shakespeare North and have donated the set of the film Shakespeare in Love to Shakespeare North . As this special year draws to a close and a new one begins, the Trustees of Shakespeare North invite you too to support this wonderful project.

I ask you to give whatever you can in the knowledge that 400 years from now the performances you have helped to happen will still be performed in Knowsley. This will be your legacy.

Dame Judi Dench

gsA Letter to Liverpool from Dame Judi Dench
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Knowsley’s Shakespeare Playhouse is another step closer

The Shakespeare North Playhouse in Knowsley is another step closer, with key appointments to help turn the playhouse into a reality, now confirmed.

This follows Knowsley Council’s Planning Committee in April, where plans to create a Shakespearean theatre and education centre in the heart of Prescot were given the green light.

Helm Architecture has been appointed as the lead architect, with Austin-Smith: Lord LLB as the supporting architect. Other key appointments include AECOM Ltd, who will provide mechanical and electrical engineering services and well as cost consultancy, alongside Mott MacDonald Ltd who will provide structural engineering services.

Cllr Mike Murphy, Knowsley Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, said:

“Securing these key appointments is a significant milestone in the development of the playhouse, which reiterates our commitment to delivering a playhouse in Prescot.

“We look forward to working with Helm Architecture, Austin-Smith: Lord LLB, AECOM Ltd and Mott MacDonald Ltd, and their experienced teams, to deliver this exciting project.”

The Shakespeare North Playhouse in Knowsley will not only be a place where actors, writers and students will be able to study and practice the plays of Shakespeare, it will be the only actor training programme in the UK in relation to Shakespearean performance practice.

The playhouse will seat 350 people for theatre performances, as well as creating a college and education establishment for students to learn the life and works of Shakespeare.

It is expected to attract thousands of visitors and students – from a local, national and international perspective – to the area.  The playhouse will also complete the Shakespearean triangle of Stratford upon Avon, London and Knowsley.


Subject to funding, construction on the new playhouse is due to commence in September 2017.

Peter Scott, Chair of Shakespeare North Trust added:

“Our vision to have a playhouse in Prescot began 12 years ago and we’re delighted at the support and interest we have received in turning this vision into a reality.

“These key appointments will help us to recreate a Shakespearean theatre in Knowsley – which was home to the only freestanding purpose-built Elizabethan era theatre outside of London.”

gsKnowsley’s Shakespeare Playhouse is another step closer
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PRESS RELEASE – Planning News

ShakespeareNorthPRESS RELEASE – Planning News
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Cash Boost from Knowsley Council

Plans to create a £19m Shakespearean theatre and education hub in Merseyside are set to receive a £6m boost from Knowsley Council.

ShakespeareNorthCash Boost from Knowsley Council
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Plans for Shakespeare hub submitted

Plans to create a northern Shakespearean theatre on Merseyside where the Bard’s plays can be performed and studied have been submitted.

ShakespeareNorthPlans for Shakespeare hub submitted
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Public Consultation

A public consultation meeting was held in Prescot Parish Church. Some of Shakespeare North’s Trustees and Developmant Board members together with Nick Helm of helm Architecture, presented the latest plans for the theatre and college building and were on hand to answer questions.

ShakespeareNorthPublic Consultation
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