Serious Nonsense Festival – All at Sea!

Saturday 10 August, 11am - 6pm

Get ready to set sail on a sea of silliness as the Serious Nonsense Festival returns to Prescot!

For the third year, the festival had been programmed by Bev Ayre, Senior Producer from Walk the Plank and visitors can expect spectacular street theatre, musical performances and some amazing shows at the Shakespeare North Playhouse.

Here’s what’s on:

An evening in conversation with Jon Culshaw and Lady Ann Dodd  - Pay What You Decide, starting at £10

7.30pm (doors at 7pm), The Cockpit Theatre

Jon Culshaw is widely regarded by many as Britain’s best impressionist with an unmatched versatility and a catalogue of over 350 voices and impersonations, including Boris Johnson, Donald Trump, Professor Brian Cox, Nigel Farage, Alan Carr, John Bishop, Ozzy Osborne, Chris Eubank, Michael McIntyre and Prince Charles amongst many others.

Jon first made international headlines in 1998 by calling the switchboard of No. 10 Downing Street and fooling the operators with his uncanny impression of William Hague, and as a result was put directly through to Prime Minister Tony Blair. The incident was mentioned at Prime Minister’s Question Time and reported across the national press and in Hansard. 

Lady Dodd first met Sir Ken when performing with him in his Christmas show at The Manchester Opera House in 1961, as one of the legendary Bluebell Girls.  After a successful career in personnel at British Airways, she decided to return to her showbusiness roots in order to help produce and organise Ken’s tours. From 1980 onwards she spent every year on the road with him playing piano, guitar and flute and singing as Sybie Jones, whilst running the team backstage and offstage to support his legendary comedy career.  A unique opportunity to hear about the life and career of Jon Culshaw and share some special Doddy backstage stories.

Book here.

Polari Young Person’s Book Prize - Pay What You Decide starting at £0

4.15pm, The Studio

 For the past 14 years, The Polari Prize awards have shone a light on the best books by LGBTQ+ writers in the UK and Ireland. In 2022, author Jodie Lancet-Grant established the Polari Young Person’s Book Prize, recognising those whose work is aimed at younger readers and celebrates diverse families. This event is a panel discussion with Polari founder Paul Burston, Polari Young Person’s Book Prize judge Zoey Dixon and James Mayhew, who won the prize in 2022 for his book Nen and the Lonely Fishermen.

Book here.

Wash Day Holiday by Altered Scale Theatre - Pay What You Decide starting at £0

2.10pm & 5pm, The Sir Ken Dodd Performance Garden

They want to escape the washday blues and they daydream of sun, sea and maybe a little adventure whilst tackling laundry woes. Will they ever get it done? Dive into a sudsy world of imagination, laughter, and unexpected surprises in this delightful new family show from Altered Scale Theatre, a storytelling, puppetry theatre company.

Book here.

Dress Circle by Circo Rum Ba Ba - Pay What You Decide starting at £0

12pm & 4pm, The Sir Ken Dodd Performance Garden

An enormous woman with sumptuously brocaded child-bearing hips glides around event grounds effortlessly as if propelled from beneath. When at last she chooses her spot to stop her skirts open to reveal a series of theatrical surprises! An enchanting line up of short vaudeville and circus acts by Circo Rum Ba Ba, an exuberant troupe of all women performers who bring extraordinary spectacle and performance into unconventional settings where it is least expected.

Book here.

Meet the Author: Jude Lennon - Pay What You Decide starting at £0

Storytelling - 1pm, The Sir Ken Dodd Performance Garden

Children’s writing workshop - 5.15pm, The 1st Floor

Shiver me timbers! Join author and storyteller Jude Lennon with her storytelling mascots Lamby and Flossie for some nautical fun. Jude will read her picture book 'Pirate Lamby and his Woolly Crew' and the audience can join in too. Jude will also talk about being an author, share some top tips for writing and take questions from the audience. Jude will also be running an interactive, fun writing workshop suitable for 5–11-year-olds.

Book tickets for Meet the Author

Book tickets for Storytelling 

Book tickets for Children's Writing Workshop

Meet the author: Simon Adepetun - Pay What You Decide starting at £0

11am, The Studio

Children’s author Simon Adepetun will be reading from his novel, The Curse of the Deadly Marshmallows. Marshmallow-loving Neil Owlsley’s dream is to one day become the world’s greatest ever reporter, but on an eventful day when he takes a trip to his favourite shop, not only has the shopkeeper disappeared but a curse is placed on his beloved marshmallows by someone identified only as ‘The Mysterious Old Woman’. Quickly he puts his reporter skills into action with only one thing on his mind ... save Sproglington Town! Will 12-year-old Neil succeed where many have failed, or will the town be overwhelmed by the Curse ... of the Deadly Marshmallows?

Book here.

As well as these ticketed shows there is a full programme of walkabout performances happening throughout Prescot town centre and music on the Market Place stage. Find out more about it here

Shakespeare North Playhouse is located at Prospero Place, Prescot, L34 3AB. 

Please note: some event timings may be subject to change.