PRESCOT’S Shakespeare theatre has been announced as the winner of a regional award for ‘planning excellence.’

Shakespeare North Playhouse, a project by Knowsley Council, has been unveiled as this year’s winner of the Royal Town Planning Institute’s (RTPI) North West Awards for Planning Excellence.

A decade-long vision to deliver a cultural venue to Prescot and to showcase the town’s connections with Williams Shakespeare came into fruition following a collaboration between Knowsley Council and Shakespeare North Trust.

The North West Awards for Planning Excellence celebrates examples of how planning and planners make a positive impact on the quality of life whilst protecting the environment.

Matt Dugdale, RTPI NW Awards Task Group Chair, said: “The judges were left speechless by the Shakespeare North Playhouse project this year.

“Internally, the quality and craftmanship in Henry VIII’s Cockpit-in-Court and Inigo Jones’ replica Elizabethan theatre is a sight to behold, and externally the incorporation of the Sir Ken Dodd Performance Garden is a nice touch.

“However, this multi-purpose and agile building is much more than a theatre; it is the beating heart of the community and is a catalyst for the wider regeneration of Prescot town centre. And crucially, planning and the planners played a central role in its delivery.

“It is a true asset to the people of Knowsley, the wider North West, and the whole performing arts sector.

“A massive congratulations to all involved.”

Since opening, the Shakespeare North Playhouse attracts thousands of people to Prescot, providing an engaging cultural programme and boosting the local economy.

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