Mott MacDonald has been appointed by Knowsley Council and Shakespeare North Trust to deliver engineering services for the new Shakespeare North playhouse in Prescot, Knowsley, UK. The landmark facility will provide a setting for educational activities and the theatre industry in a shared environment.
Knowsley was once home to the only free-standing, purpose-built Elizabethan theatre outside of London and has its own historic links to the Bard. The new venue is being developed to recognise this heritage and once again make Knowsley the place where actors, writers, artists, students and young people can study and practise the plays of Shakespeare.
The project comprises a 350-seat replica of a Jacobean court theatre based on a historical Inigo Jones design. A surrounding building, which will wrap around the theatre and also link to it through passages at basement level and bridges on the ground and first floor levels, will provide space for front and back of house facilities and education and community amenities. It will also offer multi-use spaces with ancillary facilities for the teaching of theatre practices, academic conferences and film screenings, as well as both professional and community performances. The first floor foyer will have an area for exhibitions, events and displays while a coffee shop, bar, small bookshop and permanent exhibition space will all be located in the basement area.
Mott MacDonald has been involved with the project from an early stage, delivering the transport, noise and lighting assessments for the initial planning application. The consultancy will now provide civil and structural engineering services and work closely with the architects, acousticians and theatre consultants to develop the project.
Steve Gregson, Mott MacDonald’s project director, said: “As a locally based company we’re proud to be working with Knowsley Council and Shakespeare North Trust on this landmark project. The cultural, economic and social benefits realised by the new playhouse will benefit the local community and bring much needed regeneration to the area. This commission once again highlights how our disciplines come together effectively to help clients progress to delivery at different stages in the project lifecycle.”
Construction of the new Shakespeare North playhouse is expected to be completed in 2020.