Max commented: “I am delighted to have been appointed as the new Chair and to be overseeing such a transformative and remarkable project. The Playhouse will complete the UK’s Shakespearean triangle with London and Stratford-upon-Avon and firmly put Prescot and Knowsley on the national and international map.

“I hope to be able to not only raise global awareness of the project but also create a strong commercial entity that also provides fantastic facilities and opportunities for the local community in Knowsley.

This is a truly wonderful project to be involved with and I am absolutely delighted to be able to play my part in making it a real success.”

Max is a well-known and well respected businessman and has a breadth of experience acting as Chair of a number of Boards including the ACC Liverpool Group, Riverside Housing Association and Roy Castle Foundation.

As the former Chief Executive of Liverpool Vision, Max oversaw Liverpool’s award-winning participation in the World EXPO in Shanghai, hosted the Global Entrepreneurship Congress and was Chairman of the International Business Festival in 2014, 2016 and 2018.

He was awarded a Senior Fellowship at Liverpool Hope University in 2011 and Honorary Doctorate from Liverpool University last year. He was also named Business Person of the Year at the Liverpool Regional Business Awards in 2018.

In 1997 he received an OBE for services to Housing and Regeneration and in 2013 was recognised for his contribution to Business and the Community when he was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Edward Stanley, the Nineteenth Earl of Derby and Patron of the Shakespeare North Playhouse commented:

“I am delighted that we have been able to secure the services of such a capable and well-respected Chairman. Max’s record speaks for itself and his contribution to so many important projects both within and outside our region is quite remarkable.

With work on the construction of the Playhouse now underway this project is moving into an exciting new phase of delivery and I am certain that Max is the right person to be at the helm as this project comes to life.”

The confirmation of the appointment of a new Chair follows hot on the heels of a high profile VIP event for the Playhouse, held in Parliament and attended by Dame Judi Dench. As a long term supporter of the Shakespeare North Playhouse, the award winning actress reconfirmed her passion for the Playhouse and excitement in advance of the first performances which will take place in 2022.

When complete, the flexible 320 to 380-seat Playhouse, modelled on the cockpit-in-court design of the 17th century will complete a ‘Shakespearean Triangle’ – London, Stratford-Upon-Avon and Prescot. It will also provide cradle to grave learning opportunities, an outdoor performance garden, ‘black box’ studio theatre, exhibition centre and visitor attraction.

The Playhouse will be an inclusive venue which will not only host high profile Shakespearean drama but also a variety of comedy, music and theatre performances.  Attracting people from around the globe, the Playhouse is expected to welcome more than 140,000 visitors per annum and inject £10 million into the local economy through secondary spend

The majority of the funding for the Shakespeare North Playhouse project is coming from Knowsley Council with support from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and central Government. Alongside this, more than £1 million of philanthropic funding has been secured, including a major contribution from the Ken Dodd Charitable Foundation Trust.