PRESCOT’S fascinating Shakespearean history is at the centre of a giant new artwork which was unveiled at the town centre on Saturday.

The artwork, which is on display in Leyland Street, depicts a typical Elizabethan theatre audience which would have been a common sight in the town during the 16th Century when Prescot was home to one of only a handful of standing theatres outside London.

St Helens Star:

  • Atmospheric: Leyland Street's new artwork depicts a typical Elizabethan theatre audience 

It is believed that Prescot's Playhouse would have served the gentry visiting the Earl of Derby at Knowsley Hall and several of Shakespeare's plays were performed there, with the possibility that the Bard himself may even have visited on a trip to the Earl.

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  • Public art: the huge public artwork is part of a long-term plan to revitalise the town centre

The work, which is 18 feet high and nearly 25 feet wide, will be a permanent feature set to transform the town centre.

It is the culmination of a 12-month public art project which was co-ordinated by Prescot Town Team and supported by Knowsley Council as part of a long-term plan to revitalise the town centre and attract more visitors.

It is also planned for the work to be used as a backdrop for future open-air performances.

The unveiling of the artwork took place on Saturday, 19 July at 11.30 and a range of activities also took place throughout the day including a live band, jugglers, jester and a visit from Disney characters Mini mouse and Godfey.

Councillor Dave Lonergan, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Economy and Skills at Knowsley Council said: "Revitalising Prescot town centre is a priority for the council and we were delighted to support this project, which complements our Townscape Heritage Initiative in Prescot and helps to celebrate the fantastic heritage Prescot has to offer.”

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  • Knowsley Hall hosted several of Shakespeare's plays, raising the possibility that the Bard himself may even have visited on a trip to the Earl