Prescot THI Blog

Shakespeare North: Meeting on Thursday 4th December

Shakespeare North: Meeting on Thursday 4th December

“This fellow will but join you together as they join wainscot;

Then one of you will prove a shrunk panel and like green timber, warp, warp.”+

Not my words, but some sage timber selection advice from a certain William Shakespeare. In this quote he is warning that if you make your internal wall panelling (wainscot) from unseasoned or ‘green’ oak, it will warp and shrink as it dries out, thus wrecking the look of the wall and possibly damaging the adjacent pieces of seasoned oak.

I wonder if this sort of thing was common knowledge in his day, or perhaps the Bard employed some cowboy wainscotters and learnt this lesson the hard way?! Either way it seems remarkable that a playwright and poet should throw in this seemingly arcane handy hint about the choice of timber as a metaphor for partnerships made in haste.

I’ve wanted to contrive that quote into a blog post for ages and it [kind of] forms a handy lead-in to talking about the Shakespeare North Trust, seeing as it combines traditional construction and the man himself. The Trust has been beavering away behind the scenes putting together a new proposal for a Shakespearian theatre and “flexible spaces to meet, learn, relax and be entertained” right in the heart of Prescot.

The Trust is intending to submit a planning application for its proposal in the new year, but in the meantime is holding a low-key drop-in consultation event at Prescot Parish Church from 5pm to 7pm on this Thursday 4th December.

It’s an informal event, organised by the Trust itself. There will be a brief presentation at 5pm, which will be repeated again at 6pm. The event is a chance to learn more about the Trust and its proposal, with Trustees and the scheme’s architect present at the event.

At the event or via the Trust’s website, you can pledge your support for the scheme via a brief form (also online).

A pic of the form available on the Shakespeare North website

The Trust is represented on the THI’s twelve-member Partnership Board and has been part of the decision-making process on the THI’s building projects. From a THI perspective, to have a theatre and all of its related activity can only help to regenerate the town centre and would dovetail with the building and public realm investments being made via the THI. It would bring more people into the town centre by day and night, which can only be a good thing. To take Shakespeare’s timber selection metaphor a step too far, like good wainscoting the Trust is a “seasoned” rather than “green” campaigner and fundraiser and its proposal should be a good fit for the town centre.

I’m guessing the proposal won’t include Juliet balconies – the Bard’s own inadvertent contribution to architecture! OK, I think I’ve exhausted the Shakespeare / buildings seam for now…

Once it has received the planning application in the new year, the Council will consult neighbours and the wider public in the normal way. Thursday’s event is an awareness-raising event organised by the Trust.

The event is from 5pm to 7pm this Thursday 4th December at Prescot Parish Church.

+ I’m not sure which of Shakespeare’s works this quote is from, but I read it in “Building in England Down to 1540: A Documentary History” by L F Salzman (1952)

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