Plans to be revealed for theatre where Shakespeare once played

St George's Guildhall at King's Lynn. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

St George's Guildhall at King's Lynn. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019

Plans for a theatre where Shakespeare once played are set to be unveiled tomorrow.

The Bard appeared at the Guildhall of St George in King's Lynn, in 1593 alongside the Earl of Pembroke's Men, while London theatres were closed due to the Plague.

If a £4m bid for Heritage Lottery Funding is approved, the Guildhall will see brand new performance and rehearsal spaces, a restaurant, cafe and bar, retail space and a gallery.

Members of West Norfolk Council's Regeneration and Development Panel will be briefed on the plans at a meeting tomorrow night.

Shakespeare's Guildhall Trust which developed the plans, will make the presentation where representatives will say they intend the Guildhall to open seven days a week.

Seating for 300 people will be introduced to the main theatre and the foyer will be completely refurbished with a new ticket office and bar.

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Once complete, the revamped Guildhall will host traditional music, art house cinema, professional, local and youth theatre groups, lectures, comedy and poetry. The trust also said it hopes to host travelling exhibitions at the newly restored venue.

The history of the building will also be celebrated, with regular performances of Shakespeare's most-loved plays, guided tours and a permanent state-of-the-art exhibition detailing the hall's theatrical history.

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The Guildhall's restaurant will open seven days a week and retail offerings will include a gift shop, a book shop (selling new and second-hand items), as well as an arts and crafts store.

There will also be an education area providing theatre workshops from one day events to 30-week courses, other educational courses will include creative writing, composing, lighting, costume, and marketing.

It is the only working theatre in the world to have hosted performances in all key dramatic phases; Guild plays, Elizabethan touring, Jacobean, Restoration, Georgian, Regency and post-war.

An application for £2.7m of lottery funding to refurbish the Guildhall of St George, in King's Lynn, was turned down in 2017.

Its theatre and surrounding buildings, which stretch from King Street to the river, were most recently used as an arts centre. It has been used as a hall for hire since that closed, in 2016.

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