About Shakespeare North

Our History

Shakespeare North wants to celebrate the Elizabethan heritage of Knowsley near Liverpool and aims to bring Shakespearean theatre back to the area that has an important and often neglected place in the history of Elizabethan drama. The support and patronage of the Earls of Derby at Knowsley Hall played a notable part in the development of Shakespearean drama

Our Vision

Shakespeare North aims to make Knowsley once again a place where actors, writers, artists, students and young people will be able to study and practise the plays of Shakespeare. A place which will attract scholars, students and visitors from all over the world. To achieve this vision Shakespeare North has bold ambitions. It will build again The Playhouse in Prescot where, over four hundred years ago, as the only purpose-built playhouse outside London, Elizabethan drama was enjoyed by the people of the region.

Our College

The Playhouse will be the core of a new International College, the first of its kind focusing upon Shakespearean performance practice. Students from across the globe will enjoy the privilege of studying and performing his work in the very place where Shakespeare’s company practised their craft.

Our Patrons

  • Shakespeare's plays are Great Britain's priceless national legacy... Shakespeare North provides a perfect and unique opportunity for a permanent home which will undoubtedly draw people to the area, not only from the UK but from all over the world, and become the crowning glory of the North of England.

    Vanessa Redgrave Patron, Shakespeare North
  • It is a matter of great pride that the support and patronage of my ancestors enabled Shakespeare to begin a career that would make him the world's greatest playwright. I ask all who read this to join me in building The Playhouse and the International College at Shakespeare North near the home where my family still live.

    Edward Stanley The Nineteenth Earl of Derby
  • It is exciting to realise that together we are creating at Prescot a flourishing cultural and educational community - "the little acadame, still and contemplative in living art" - that Shakespeare dreamed of, bringing, in the great tradition of Liverpool John Moores University, new life and jobs to an area that still sorely needs regeneration.

    Professor Michael Brown Former Vice Chancellor, Liverpool John Moores University

Shakespeare Portrait © The National Portrait Gallery