THIS weekend (Friday, July 15 to Sunday, July 17), the much-anticipated £38m Shakespeare North Playhouse will officially open its doors to the public.

And after more than ten years of planning, people are invited to enjoy a weekend of fun, celebrations, performances, and joy.

What's on during the opening weekend

The festivities will start on Prospero Place on Friday, July 15 with the All The Joy That You Can Wish – a ceremony and performance that marks the start of the opening weekend.

All The Joy That You Can Wish performance, Prospero Place 6-7pm (arrive from 5pm).

On Saturday, July 16 the whole family can enjoy dancing, DJs, drama, drums, drawing, raves, rappers, talkers and stilt walkers. The venue will be open from 10am – 10.30pm

READ>First look inside Shakespeare North

The weekend concludes on Sunday, July 17 when there will be tours, crafts and the chance to explore the new venue. The venue will be open from 11am – 9.30pm.

Cllr Graham Morgan, leader of Knowsley Council, said: “This is a really proud moment for me and such an historic moment for Prescot, Knowsley and our wider communities.

“Delivering this amazing cultural venue has been a long-held ambition of the Council and to see the doors open this weekend will be really special.

St Helens Star: An artist's image of the Playhouse with guestsAn artist's image of the Playhouse with guests

“It will be an exciting weekend of celebrations and I hope as many people as possible will come along and join in, get involved or just take the opportunity to step inside the amazing building and take a look around. Everyone is welcome.”

Across the weekend people can be a part of…

  • Cast your words inside a candle with Abigail Conway (Saturday only)
  • Candle Burning Ceremony in the Cockpit Theatre (Sunday only)
  • Assist Faith Bebbington to create a Syorax cloak using waste materials from the weekend.
  • Capoeira on the Piazza (Saturday only)
  • Drumming in the Sir Ken Dodd Performance Garden (Saturday only)
  • Ruff Making with Tamasine Seibold
  • Taking Flight Dance workshops with Movema (Saturday only)
  • A Snapshot Tour of the building with team members from Shakespeare North Playhouse.

Some of the workshops and events can be booked in advance but for the majority you can turn up and enjoy on the day.

Open Up: Your words inside a candle

Saturday 16 – Sunday 17 July

Join artist Abigail Conway and help assemble and cast words inside a traditional beeswax candle for others to discover when melted. Participants are invited to cast their words inside a tapered candle. As a candle slowly burns, remnant messages left behind become glimmering beacons of hope, whispers, for others to discover and take home.

The sessions are FREE and open to all, however places need to be booked in advance. You can book your place here. The experience will last up to 45 mins. Any young person under the age of 18 who would like to participate will need to be accompanied by an adult with their own ticket for the same timeslot.

Open Up: Candle Burning Ceremony     

Sunday, July 17, 6pm

The Open Up weekend culminates in The Candle Project Burning Ceremony. Artist, Abigail Conway, will light up the Cockpit Theatre with candles created across the weekend. As the candles slowly burn, remnant messages left behind become glimmering beacons of hope, whispers, for others to discover and take home…

Book your FREE place for this ceremony, 6pm on Sunday 17 July here

Tour of the building: Saturday 16 and Sunday July 17

Join a member of the Shakespeare North Playhouse team for a tour of the beautiful building. This is your opportunity to see the space through the eyes of the team, ask questions, explore and make yourself at home. 

You will be guided to three key spaces within the building, The Sir Ken Dodd Performance Garden, the Learning Centre and at the heart of it all The Cockpit Theatre. 

Tours are accessible to all and will run throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday. Your tour guides will be varied members of the Shakespeare North Playhouse team, from Front of House to Chief Executive.

The tour will last approximately 20 minutes and is suitable for all ages.

You can book your FREE space here.

Finding Shakespeare North Playhouse

Shakespeare North Playhouse is located on the new Prospero Place in Prescot (L34 3AB).

It’s easy to get to by car, train, bus, on foot or by bike.

The nearest car parks are on Mill St (use postcode L34 6HA for sat nav) and Prescot Deanes House NCP Car Park, Church St, Prescot (L34 3LA).

Open Up Weekend

The Shakespeare North Playhouse Open Up weekend has been co-curated by Ashleigh Nugent, a local lad who is now an award-winning author, playwright and rapper. Ashleigh works in prisons and in communities delivering authentic and cutting-edge arts programmes that change lives for the better.

It is a key part of Knowsley’s celebrations for its year as Liverpool City Region Borough of Culture.