Queens and witches take over town as Elizabethan Fayre returns

Prescot Elizabethan Fayre, Prescot.
-Credit: (Image: Colin Lane/Liverpool Echo)

Amongst the fire dancing, the sounds of medieval folk music and the smells of roasting meat, the words of Shakespeare rang out - all overseen by Her Royal Majesty Elizabeth I.

Prescot was transformed into an Elizabethan townscape this afternoon (Saturday, June 8) as families from across the region descended on Knowsley to celebrate its 50th birthday.

The Elizabethan Fayre in Prescot is a popular date in the borough's cultural calendar and takes place every year. The family-friendly event is free and runs through the spine of the main high street and out onto the green spaces overlooked by the Parish Church.

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This year's fayre was bigger than ever with more stalls, more performers and more set-pieces. Knowsley Council wanted to make this year's event even more special as they celebrate their 50th birthday as an official metropolitan borough.

The town of Prescot is a fitting place to host such a fayre as it has a remarkable history. In Elizabethan times it was the only place in the country, aside from London, to have a free-standing purpose-built theatre. Today it is home to Shakespeare North Playhouse, a new theatre and cultural venue in the heart of the town inspired by William Shakespeare and his love of storytelling.

The Playhouse has been a major part of the transformation of Prescot and has become a focal point for community activities and events. The management are particularly keen to engage local residents and families and the Elizabethan Fayre is a good opportunity for them to do that.

Indeed, the works of Shakespeare were performed during the fayre with Wing It Impro and Rubbish Shakespeare Company performing an entirely improvised play.

There were also many family-focused activities such as Tudor story-telling, a Witches’ Brew Animal Sculpture trail and an opportunity for the children (and adults) to make their own shadow puppets.

In addition, there was plenty of other entertainment including a fire dancing show by Imaginarium Theatre troupe, a duet performance conducted by a loot player and violinist and a wandering juggler.

The fayre was also honoured by the presence of a Queen Elizabeth I performer who was situated in the Royal tent. Families could pop in and pay her a visit as she tucked into a meal of roasted meats, jams and root vegetables.

One of the performers who was telling tales from the Tudor times was delighted with the turnout. Dave Tong is otherwise known as 'The Yarnsmith of Norwich' and he came up to regale the families of Prescot with historical stories about life in the 16th Century. He said: "Today has been absolutely brilliant.

"I travel to a few events like this around the country but I have to say, this has been a special experience and it's just been so brilliant to see all the people come out in the sunshine today and enjoy everything that's going on."

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