New season: King's Lynn Arts Centre

Historic King’s Lynn Arts Centre is a stone’s throw away from its big sister, the Corn Exchange, and its new programme has plenty to entertain too.

It is a tribute to Norfolk's charms that the much-loved travel (and now science) writer Bill Bryson chose to set up home in our county on his return from the United States a year or so back.

And the September 24 Arts Centre visit by the multi-million selling author of A Short History of Nearly Everything, Notes From a Small Island and much more has proven so popular that tickets sold out instantly. Happily, Bill has now agreed to make a second appearance (3.30pm) on the same day. His visit is part of the excellent lecture series in association with the Royal Geographical Society, which has brought many inspirational speakers to the King Street venue.

Sixties legends the Animals will be in concert on September 10 for an acoustic setting of such classics as House of the Rising Sun and We Gotta Get Out of This Place. Continuing the Geordie link, ex-Lindisfarne singer Billy Mitchell (November 26) is setting out on a solo tour.

Widely-acclaimed Suffolk singer-songwriter Tom Baxter has been making waves with his fine debut Feather and Stone and has notched up festival dates at Guilfest and V2005. Catch up with him on October 8.

Families shouldn't miss an appearance by the brilliant magician Geoffrey Durham on October 1. Geoffrey will astound you with his close-up tricks and sleight of hand performed right under your nose, as the audience at his appearance at Norwich Playhouse can testify!

More family treats with Not Now Bernard and Other Monster Stories (October 22) based on the popular books by David McKee, and the timeless tale of Neverland and the boy who wouldn't grow up, Peter Pan (December 21).

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The centre has, as usual, a strong drama strand. Sherlock Holmes fans will lap up a new play by John Goodrum, the chilling The Nightmare Room (November 5), an eerie tale of two women, one man and a strangely quiet room, based on the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle characters.

In contrast Strawberry Fields (November 19) takes as its inspiration a subject bang up to date - the national news story of a Herefordshire farm that employed a thousand Ukrainians. The ensuing battle between strawberry producers, the local council and divided public opinion brought into sharp focus issues surrounding our changing countryside.

There's an early Christmas treat with the welcome return visit of Sid Kipper (December 3) with more tales of St Just-near-Trunch, while acclaimed West Norfolk film-maker Robert Fuller presents his latest documentary, A Portrait of Victorian Lynn (October 20). Narrated by Robert Hardy, his latest film uses archive film, black and white photographs, music, interviews and dramatised sequences to portray the two opposing sides of Victorian life in Lynn.

The centre has two excellent exhibition spaces, and you can look forward to visual arts including EDP photographer Matthew Usher (September 17-October 22) exhibiting pictures of the West Norfolk coastline, plus (over the same period) the first joint exhibition from James Dodds and Guy Taplin.

Additional shows include Distant Conflicts by David Pairpoint (October 29-November 12), who produces poignant works influenced by war and Work Room, a new series of mini-residencies which give the public access to the artist as they work on a brand new piece to be exhibited in their third week. Kicking off this series is Jim Aitchison (October 18-November 5) and Inge-Lise Greaves (November 8-26).

For complete listings including forthcoming films pick up a copy of the new brochure available from next Friday or call box office: 01553 764864