AN IMPRESSIVE new artwork has been catching the eye in Prescot town centre since it was unveiled on Saturday.

The giant 18-foot tall work, located on Leyland Street, is a permanent feature which forms part of a long-term plan to rejuvenate the town centre.

The work celebrates Prescot’s rich theatrical history and the town’s Shakespearean link.

It depicts a typical Elizabethan theatre audience, the kind which would have been a common sight in the town during the 16th Century when the town was home to one of only a handful of standing theatres outside of London.

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 see the Earl.

The culmination of a 12-month public art project which was co-ordinated by Prescot Town Team, the work was unveiled last Saturday with representatives from Knowsley Council, Prescot Town team, Knowsley Chamber of Commerce and businesses among the crowd.

“It went better than expected on Saturday considering the rain and about 100 or so people turned out,” said Karen Maloney, of Prescot Town Team.

“The artwork has had a really popular reception, it has been really good.

“Everyone is aware of it and it is a nice big focal part of Prescot.

“That is what this is all about – getting people to the town centre.”

And the artwork is hoped to form part of an outdoor arts venue with it to be used as a backdrop for public performances.

“It’s part of a bigger plan and we are all hoping to see something similar on the opposing gable and make the area an outdoor art venue.

“We’ll see how this goes but that’s the idea to make it an outside public forum – that’s phase two.”

Money for the project came from the Government’s High Street Innovation fund, which is used to fund creative ideas.