Photo: Jake Ryan
Imaginarium was established as Merseyside Arts Theatre & Education (MATE) in March 2000. For the first 14 years we were based in Halewood (south Knowsley) as a community theatre, youth theatre and children’s drama workshop. We also toured TIE productions and delivered bespoke Drama-in-Education projects in schools across the North West.
In December 2014 we were offered a fantastic new home in Prescot (central Knowsley) by the Shakespeare North Trust and Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council. Moving to Cockpit House (the old clock museum) facilitated the expansion of our community and youth engagement work, and our aspiration to develop more outdoor and site-specific theatre.
We developed the IGNITE creative community programme and increased our youth provision to include 3 youth theatre companies, a children’s company, family creative workshops and an extensive schools’ offer. We are also an accredited Arts Awards Centre and Artsmark partnership organisation. In 2019 we opened the Imaginarium Bistro and took over the creative management of a new heritage lottery funded outdoor amphitheatre/piazza opposite the new Shakespeare North Playhouse in Prescot town centre. In the centre of the piazza will sit our new green and white striped big top tent - the Imaginarium Roundhouse, where we will host performances, workshops and creative community events from Spring 2021. Our spectacular outdoor productions of Shakespeare plays and literary classics tour annually to parks, community gardens and great halls across the North West to audiences of 2000+ people, and have become an exciting highlight in our calendar.
Imaginarium Theatre is an Associate Company of the Shakespeare North Playhouse (SNP), and a Royal Shakespeare Company Open Stages partnership organisation. We work in partnership with the Shakespeare North Playhouse and Knowsley Council at grassroots level to build momentum within our communities for the planned playhouse (due to open in 2022), and with our associate artists and freelance practitioners to develop Prescot as a creative and cultural hub for Knowsley and an exciting visitor destination for the wider Liverpool City Region.
Here are the places where you can find us...
Photo: Steve Samosa
Imaginarium’s community arts base is a beautiful grade 2 listed Georgian building adjacent to the Shakespeare North Playhouse (you can see the crane where the playhouse is being constructed).
Historically this building was once the Prescot Clock Museum and it sits on the plot of an Elizabethan alehouse and adjoining cockpit (frequented by travelling players when they were performing at the nearby playhouse as documented in the archives of Knowsley library). Today you will find the Imaginarium office, rehearsal rooms, makers workshops, costume and props stores.
Cockpit House is a busy social and creative hub 7 days a week until late into the evening, with drama, dance, music, circus, writing, drumming, crafting, making, laughter and friendship. Our doors are open with something exciting to offer for everyone, regardless of age or experience.
For enquiries telephone: 0151 426 4979
Due to the Covid crisis, sadly our doors are currently closed, but we are still working hard creating programmes online and behind the scenes planning for the future. We hope to see you all in person again as soon as we feel we can offer a safe space for our staff and community participants.
Shakespeare North Playhouse
The Shakespeare North Playhouse is an iconic new 350-seat theatre (modelled on the Inigo Jones cockpit-in-court design popular during the Elizabethan era) currently under construction in Prescot, Knowsley.
The undeniably enchanting connections between Knowsley, Shakespeare and Elizabethan theatre through the support Shakespeare received from the Earls of Derby, provide an appealing historical connection to what will be a truly modern cultural and educational asset for the north of England.
The new playhouse is set to open its doors in 2022 and as an Associate Company, Imaginarium will be one of the first to tread the boards! We look forward to moving some of our community and youth work into the playhouse and to making full use of the stage and the planned theatre garden dedicated to Ken Dodd: the Squire of Knotty Ash.
To find out more click the link to the playhouse website.
Photo: Jake Ryan
Prescot Woodland Theatre
The idyllic home venue for our outdoor touring productions (and outdoor rehearsals) is located in the vicarage gardens; a beautiful woodland setting behind the grade 1 listed Prescot Parish Church in the heart of Prescot’s historic town centre, and just over the road from both Cockpit House and the Shakespeare North Playhouse.
With the kind support of Rev Canon John Taylor and the church community, every summer Imaginarium transform this little-used space into Prescot Woodland Theatre, seating up to 200 people within this intimate woodland natural amphitheatre.
Imaginarium Bistro & Piazza
Imaginarium’s exciting new outdoor event space is the £0.7 million heritage lottery funded Piazza at Market Place, Prescot. We will be working with local partners and cultural and community organisations to provide an exciting year round programme of creative and cultural outdoor events.
At the heart of the Piazza you will find the new Imaginarium Bistro serving Italian and Mediterranean fusion food.
Photo: Steve Samosa
The Imaginarium Roundhouse is a stunning green and white 9m big top funded by Awards for All and local partners that will provide an all weather creative community hub at The Piazza at Market Place from the spring of 2021.
The Roundhouse will host events, performances and workshops for local people of all ages and from all walks of life.
Meet The Team
Media & Website Manager
Media & Marketing Manager
Francesco La Rocca
Finance & Business Development Manager
Gaynor La Rocca
Artistic Director & CEO
Events Manager & Assistant Producer
Participation Manager & Theatre Practitioner
Education Manager & Arts Awards Coordinator