• Image of Issue 1272: February 4-10

The Merseyside borough of Knowsley is one of the country’s most deprived areas, which is why eyebrows where raised when the council invested £6 million into an arts venture turned down by the National Lottery. Can the Shakespeare North theatre help rejuvenate Prescot, a town that has been hit hard by government cuts?

Monisha Rajesh departed London St Pancras on a mission: to travel around the world in 80 trains. She embarked on a 45,000 mile journey through 23 countries. Along the way she met new people who would come together to shape her journey.

Seeking a new adventure mountaineer Leo Houlding took on his biggest challenge to date. Houlding ascended the Spectre, Antarctica – one of the remotest mountains on earth. He reveals all about his arduous journey to Stuart Holmes.

Kiza Deen takes Centre Stage in her new role in Random. Director Gbolahan Obisesan previews the “brilliantly crafted play” that shines a light on knife crime.

On the news pages, five men are jailed after digging for badgers and former Big Issue North vendor Alex Old motivates Leeds College of Building students.

Plus a Q&A with author Elanor Dymott as she releases her new book Slack-Tide, the story of a love affair with a controlling man.

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