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Ghosts of the Guildhall theatre dining review: 'A perfectly executed night'

PUBLISHED: 16:33 17 January 2019 | UPDATED: 10:52 18 January 2019

Ghosts of the Guildhall Credit: James Randle

Ghosts of the Guildhall Credit: James Randle

Archant

A new haunted theatrical dining experience has launched in the historic Norwich Guildhall, with spine-tingling stories from those that occupied its cells awaiting trial.

Ghosts of the Guildhall Credit: James RandleGhosts of the Guildhall Credit: James Randle

The new event is split into three separate ghost stories in different areas of the impressive medieval building which was built in 1407.

It is now run by Britannia Enterprises as Guildhall Britannia cafe which offers employment and mentoring to serving and ex-prisoners and the new event combines tasty food with a menu of ghost stories.

At the start of the tour, we were handed a glass of fizz to steady our nerves and handed a lantern as we headed down the narrow staircase to the undercroft.

When we entered the room a woman with backcombed hair and a long white nightie screamed and emerged from the shadows.

She explained she was Jane Sellars who was in and out of prison at the Norwich Bridewell in the 17th century for petty crimes, such as stealing stockings, and had her child taken away from her whilst she awaited trial at the Guildhall.

The actress was superb and sent chills down my spine as she clawed at the walls and went around the group asking if they had seen her child.

Platter at Ghosts of the Guildhall Credit: James RandlePlatter at Ghosts of the Guildhall Credit: James Randle

It was so spooky, helped by the eerie atmosphere of the undercroft and cold stone walls, that one member of the group had to leave the room.

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Next, we were taken along the corridor to the old cells, which still had etchings from prisoners on the doors, and another character appeared.

This time it was Thomas Bilney who was a 16th century protestant martyr who spent his last night at the Guildhall before being executed at Bishop Bridge.

The actor gave a convincing performance as he menacingly told his own story and those of other prisoners, including William Sheward who cut up his wife Martha and distributed her round the city.

We were then led back into the main hall where we were served a tasty platter with crudites, cold meats, cheeses and bread which split the evening up nicely.

The event ended in the Victorian courtroom upstairs as a merciless judge emerged and told us about the people he had tried before yelling to us to get out at the end.

Ghosts of the Guildhall Credit: James RandleGhosts of the Guildhall Credit: James Randle

A perfectly executed event suitable for all the family.

The Ghosts of the Guildhall is set to run monthly throughout 2019 with exact dates TBC.

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