Shakespeare festival to be held in historic venue where the Bard is thought to have performed

PUBLISHED: 09:31 05 December 2018 | UPDATED: 10:13 05 December 2018

Andrew Jarvis as Bartholomew Grady in

Andrew Jarvis as Bartholomew Grady in "The Only True History of Lizzie Finn" at Southwark Playhouse in 2012. Photo: Andrew Jarvis

Andrew Jarvis

A Norfolk town will host its first ever Shakespeare festival in a building where the playwright is thought to have performed almost 500 years ago.

Actor Andrew Jarvis is hosting King's Lynn's first Shakespeare Festival  Photo: Andrew JarvisActor Andrew Jarvis is hosting King's Lynn's first Shakespeare Festival Photo: Andrew Jarvis

The King’s Lynn Guildhall is the largest surviving medieval guildhall in the country and its boards have been trodden by a number of thespians over the years and historians are almost certain Shakespeare was one of them.

Next April 26 to 28, respected Shakespearean actor Andrew Jarvis will be hosting the town’s first ever Shakespeare Festival, which he hopes will be more than an annual event.

“I want Shakespeare to be more of a prominent figure in the town, hopefully by next Christmas,” Mr Jarvis said.

Having spent the best part of 50 years as a professional actor, being a member of both the English Shakespeare Company (ESC) and the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), Mr Jarvis is keen for the Bard to be celebrated.

“Shakespeare speaks to us all through the ages, his work isn’t for an age but for all time. As with any great art there is always something new to be drawn on.

“I think it is vital for the younger generation to learn about Shakespeare, but more importantly learning them well and in a way that’s relevant.” During the weekend renowned actor Sir Ian McKellen, will be performing in two sold-out events.

Mr Jarvis said: “Ian is a very generous and warm-hearted man. He is just a very nice guy to be around. We worked together in 1971 and again just three years ago.

“When I was in a play called No-mans Land, I was the understudy to both Ian and Patrick Stewart. One evening I went on for Patrick and at the end of the show, Ian gave a speech to the audience about my stepping in and asked them to applaud me, that’s the type of man he is.”

Mr Jarvis said his biggest moment with the ESC was in the 1980s, playing Richard III at the Old Vic Theatre in London.

However, he said the first night he was in a Shakespeare play, as part of the RSC performing in Stratford-upon-Avon was also very special.

He said: “I remember when I was young, I would queue overnight for tickets to see the RSC because they were that big of a deal to me, and performing with them, in Shakespeare’s home town was a dream come true. It took me 10 years, but I did it.”

The King’s Lynn Shakespeare festival is being held at St George’s Guildhall, King Street, King’s Lynn, on Friday April 26 to Sunday April 28 2019.

For more information or to purchase tickets click here or visit

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