A stunning new venue, connecting a town's rich history to its bright future
Shakespeare North Playhouse website
We designed our studio; it's filled with light and music. There are multiple meeting rooms, a well stocked kitchen, and an indoor garden (with fishpond). Pop-in for tea and stay to use a spare desk for as long as you need.
We’re next to Greenwich train and DLR station. We have a door right on the concourse but it’s different to our postal address.
If you have to come by car, we have a couple of parking spaces. We have a charging point that you are welcome to use if you have an electric car. Call ahead and we'll make sure the spaces are free. Use our postcode (SE10 9QF) to guide you in.
It's exciting to chat about potential new projects. We don't have a ‘sales’ team or a form to fill in. Call us or give us a little detail via email and we'll get straight back to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you're a client then you'll be best served by calling us or contacting us via Basecamp, otherwise you can use this dedicated email that reaches all of the digital email@example.com
This email hits the inboxes of the people who deal with our bookkeeping and firstname.lastname@example.org
Sometimes enquiries don't fall neatly under a heading, do email@example.com
Shakespeare North Playhouse website
Shakespeare North Playhouse is an incredible new venue in Prescot, Merseyside. A stunning, authentic recreation of an Elizabethan timber-framed auditorium, surrounded by a flexible modern structure that will be home to theatre, music, comedy, events and activities.
We were tasked with a quick turnaround to create a website that would announce its arrival on a national scale and invite a local audience to sample the multitude of activities and experiences.
In the 1590s a revolutionary theatre stood in the town of Prescot. Championed by the Earl of Derby, it was thought to be the only purpose-built indoor playhouse outside London. The theatre attracted players from across the country, bringing contemporary plays of the time including those by William Shakespeare.
Inspired by the historical connections between Prescot and Shakespeare the idea for this brand new Shakespearean venue was first conceived back in 2006 and finally opened its doors to the public in July 2022. It houses a traditional recreation of a timber-frame cockpit theatre along with an abundance of contemporary performance and exhibition spaces acting as a true creative hub for the local community.
This dynamic new space celebrates the area’s rich history and looks to unite and inspire the local community – providing them with a space to learn, create and come together.
We were appointed to create a stunning new website that mirrored the beautiful architecture and showcased the brand and visual identity developed by the team at Pavement Creative.
We set off to the town of Prescot via nearby Liverpool for a site visit and audience-focused session with the newly appointed Chief Executive, Mel Lewis and the project’s theatre consultant, Ian Tabbron.
Donning protective gear we headed to the building site for a look around. Guided by Ian, we were given a first-class historic walking tour of the building. We explored the many spaces contained within the building including the flexible studios, outside performance garden and of course the impressive 470-seat Cockpit Theatre.
It felt incredible to see the building in its early stages and you could already tell how special and unique it felt. We can’t wait to go and see it in all its glory now it’s open to the public.
Our approach to any new website begins by understanding the needs of the people who will use it…
What made this project especially unique was that due to the Playhouse being brand new, there were no existing audience relationships as a point of reference to build from. Instead, we shifted our approach to consider who the Playhouse might appeal to and attract on a local and global scale.
We worked with the team to develop a set of target audience personas that would allow us to identify and understand the potential people that might want to interact with the organisation. We explored many of the audiences the Playhouse wanted to attract including; national theatre-goers, local community groups using facilities and young people attending on school trips.
This work enabled us to really understand what these potential visitors might want to see and do when they use the website and identify the types of content that would really allow audiences to get to know this brand new venue and want to attend.
The senior team were incredibly passionate about the town’s history and the needs of the local community of Prescot. It was evident through conversations, the building and its overall mission were formed and shaped by the unique identity of the town and not something that was imposing itself on the environment. This made our job of understanding the venue’s unique perspective and appeal very clear.
Pavement Creative developed a dynamic and bold visual identity that gave a very distinct and unique aesthetic for the Playhouse that would become instantly recognizable.
They did this by creating a striking colour palette using contrasting vibrant yellow and black which creates a bold impact across the brand. They also cleverly played with text orientation and spacing to create a neat and compact logo that solved many challenges around the venue’s long name.
Using the branding work as a starting point we developed a number of creative routes to present to the Shakespeare North Playhouse team.
We experimented with a number of ideas that played with the use of the brand’s extended colour palette and the use of octagon shapes that mirrored the dimensions of the venue’s Cockpit Theatre. We also continued the experimentation with the use of text orientation for section headings that mirrored the new logo.
What proved popular with the Playhouse team was focusing on the use of the primary yellow and black colour story with only a small introduction of secondary colours as accents across the site. They also liked our innovative vertical orientation of the venue name on the homepage which frames the page on the left as the main content scrolls on the right. We also finessed our use of shapes that were reminiscent of the venue’s architecture such as the octagon and chevrons.
The team were incredibly excited by our direction which allowed us to move forward with the design concept and apply to the rest of the site.
As we progressed further with the rest of the site design we wanted to focus on an important aspect of how the venue advertises events and encourages ticket purchases.
We used a WordPress content management system for this new site but built it with lots of customisations to make each page intuitive for the team to use. We built the system with as much flexibility as possible to allow the team to re-order and repeat content blocks on their pages to allow them to display their content in interesting and engaging ways.
The Playhouse team had also recently selected their ticketing platform partners as Spektrix and were configuring and setting up events in preparation for their season launch. We have collaborated and worked closely with Spektrix for many years, so it was another great opportunity for us to take advantage of their intelligent system and integrate it seamlessly onto the site.
Using the Spektrix API, we were able to pull in a variety of event data onto the site, such as ticket prices and venue information without the need for the venue team to enter the information into multiple systems. We also used our own custom Gravity Forms and Spekrtix integration to enable the venue to insert contact forms on the site allowing the entered form data to sync into their Spektrix database.
The team were really pleased with the automation work that would save them a lot of time with the day-to-day management of the ticketing system and website.
Thank you so much to our wonderful friends at Cog. Thanks to them we have a brilliant website, and which captures everything we are.
We launched the new site in two stages. The first stage was a holding page that showcased the new branding and event season announcement with a second launch of the full site in April 2022 to commence their Priority and General ticket on-sales. We have already begun work on our next phase of the website which will introduce an online retail shop, watch this space…
Since launching its new site, Shakespeare North Playhouse opened its doors to the public in July 2022 where they saw over 7,000 people attend their opening weekend hosting over 90 different performances around Prescot.
We are so excited to see what the team do next and look forward to continuing our partnership with them.