Shakespeare North Playhouse pulls in the crowds

On Friday 15 July the Shakespeare North Playhouse opened to the public. Across the entire weekend the playhouse welcomed more than 7300 people through the doors to explore the new space and all it has to offer.

The venue is home to the only 17th-century style, timber-built ‘Cockpit’ theatre outside London and is able to seat 450 spectators. Built entirely during the pandemic with public funds and donations, the new venue is anticipated to attract more than 140,000 visitors a year.

The weekend got off to an incredible start with All the Joy You Can Wish – a huge community parade and celebration outside the playhouse as part of Knowsley’s Borough of Culture celebrations. This event attracted more than 1500 local people.

Alongside those cramming the streets outside the playhouse, the opening and events were seen by a further 6.6 million on local and national news.

After a thrilling start to the weekend, celebrations continued with 92 separate performances and events taking place and more than 1800 people joining the tours of the building. The playhouse team were supported by an army of volunteers who gave more than 200 hours of time over the opening weekend alone.

The venue will also host a programme of regular family and community activities and events during its opening season, including pre-school music, storytelling and spoken word sessions, monthly open mic nights for beginners and experienced performers, craft, heritage, art and writing workshops for families, local school children and adults.

Laura Collier, creative director at the Shakespeare North Playhouse, said: “The opening season was a statement of intent in terms of our ambition for the venue and our engagement with the local community and audiences in the years ahead”.

Cllr Graham Morgan, leader of Knowsley Council said: “What an amazing weekend we have witnessed here in Knowsley – I can’t quite get over just how many people got involved and the amazing feedback we have had. It was so lovely to hear so many positive comments and see the joy in people’s faces as they explored this amazing building. It was a very special moment and one that will live long in the memory of everyone who was there.

“Thank you to everyone who helped make this weekend such a success. From the team at the playhouse to all the amazing volunteers, performers and creatives and of course to the public for their support!”


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