AHMM lodges plans for Ken Dodd comedy centre in Liverpool

Expected to cost £15 million, The Sir Ken Dodd Happiness Centre would house the long-serving comedian’s archive of material as well as an exhibition celebrating his work.

AHMM has outlined its proposals for the four-storey building next to the city’s Royal Court Theatre, which would operate the centre. The 2015 Stirling Prize-winning practice has had a long relationship with the Royal Court and in 2016 its £2.9 million project of the 1930s Art Deco theatre was named the AJ Retrofit of the Year.

The new centre is also designed to provide spaces for comedy workshops, talks and performances. Plans show the centre connecting to the Royal Court and providing new dressing rooms and office spaces for the theatre.

Images also show a likeness of Dodd etched on the top floor of the building, with one of his jokes displayed on a large screen on its facade and an external sculpture shaped like the comedian’s famous tickling stick.

Subject to planning approval, building work could begin in 2025 with the doors opening in 2026.

Royal Court chief executive Gillian Miller said: ‘Liverpool is renowned all around the world for the wit and humour of its people. It is about time that the city had a building dedicated to celebrating that fact.

‘Sir Ken was Liverpool’s best-loved entertainer and one of the UK’s greatest-ever comedians. He was a chart-topping singer, talented actor and accomplished ventriloquist, but his true passion was his natural gift for making us all laugh.’

Dodd died in 2018, aged 90. His wife Lady Anne Dodd said this week: ‘I couldn’t be happier to support the building of a Sir Ken Dodd Happiness Centre. It was his lifelong dream to build a place where comedy is taken seriously, and he would be delighted to know that he was part of a building in the centre of Liverpool that leaves every visitor with a smile on their face.’

Project data

Location Liverpool
Local authority Liverpool City Council
Type of project Cultural
Client Royal Court Theatre Trust and The Sir Ken Dodd Charitable Foundation
Architect Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
Structural engineer Arup
M&E consultant Arup
Principal designer Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
Funding Sources including the Sir Ken Dodd Charitable Trust
Completion 2026
Gross internal floor area 658m²
Total cost £15 million

Liverpool's royal co ahmm timothy soar

Source:Timothy Soar

Liverpool’s Royal Court, Liverpool by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris