Thu 6 Apr, 2023

Shakespeare North Playhouse are delighted to announce its first cohort of Associate Artists that will contribute and shape the theatre’s vision and artistic programming.

The eclectic group of artists and companies are composed of talented and diverse individuals and groups from different disciplines, who share the same passion for Shakespeare’s work and the cultural heritage of Prescot and the North West.

These six artists will collaborate on a range of projects and initiatives that reflect the artistic and cultural missions of Shakespeare North Playhouse. They will work closely with the theatre’s creative team and stakeholders to create new productions, develop talent, engage with local communities, and explore new and unique ways of presenting Shakespeare’s works.

The Associate Artists are:

  • Ben Crystal, an actor, author, producer, known for his exploration of original practices in Shakespeare rehearsal and production. His first solo book, Shakespeare on ToastGetting a Taste for the Bard was shortlisted for the 2010 Educational Writer of the Year Award. He wrote the Springboard Shakespeare quartet, and co-authored a chapter for Lockdown Shakespeare with Dr David Sterling Brown. Ben is a patron of Shakespeare Week and a consultant creative producer for Shakespeare companies around the world.  Ben gives talks and workshops around the world, and his TEDx talk is called Original Practice: Shakespeare’s Craft. Ben will also be leading the Lights On / Lights Off project at Shakespeare North Playhouse to be staged on Shakespeare’s Birthday weekend 23 & 24 April.


  • Coram Shakespeare Schools Festival, an award-winning cultural education charity that gives young people across the UK the confidence to succeed in life. The world’s largest youth drama festival lies at the heart of their transformative process and provides a creative platform for children to shine across the UK.


  • Graeae, an acclaimed and award-winning theatre company, existing to cultivate and champion the best in Deaf, disabled and neurodivergent talent nationally and internationally. In addition to productions, Graeae also runs an extensive programme of training, learning, and creative professional development programmes. Graeae were also consultants on the capital build.


  • Imaginarium, a Prescot based theatre and community arts organisation led by Artistic Director Gaynor La Rocca and a dynamic team of creative professionals. The company stage spectacular outdoor community productions of Shakespeare plays and literary classics – touring annually to parks, community gardens and great halls across the Liverpool City Region.


  • Not Too Tame, are award-winning, ‘great night out’ specialists producing high-octane, heart-on-sleeve stories that are steeped in working-class culture and made by working-class artists. Their work celebrates regional identity, champions community and feels like a gig. They craft exhilarating night’s out that highlight to audiences that theatre IS for them, both as a form of entertainment and as a potential career path.


  • Shakespeare’s Globe, a world-renowned theatre, education centre, and cultural landmark on the bank of the River Thames in London. The Globe Theatre is a unique full-scale replica of Shakespeare’s original 1599 Elizabethan open-air theatre, and the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse is an archetype of an indoor Jacobean theatre. Inspired and informed by the unique historic playing conditions of two beautiful iconic theatres, their diverse programme of work harnesses the power of performance, cultivates intellectual curiosity and excites learning to make Shakespeare accessible for all.


“We are thrilled to welcome these exceptional artists and companies to our creative family, and look forward to the exciting opportunities and ideas that their skills and passions will bring through these collaborations” said Laura Collier, Creative Director of Shakespeare North Playhouse “Our Associate Artists are a key part of our on-going mission to champion diverse voices and perspectives at Shakespeare North Playhouse. Through working with and alongside these artists we will continue to celebrate the work of Shakespeare and the rich heritage of Prescot.”