New season: King's Lynn Corn Exchange

TREVOR HEATON, EDP Whats On Editor It's a summer of firsts - and old favourites - at one of the region's liveliest entertainment venues, King's Lynn Corn Exchange, which can be found on the town's historic Tuesday Market Place.


It's a summer of firsts - and old favourites - at one of the region's liveliest entertainment venues, King's Lynn Corn Exchange, which can be found on the town's historic Tuesday Market Place.

A visit by Grammy-award winning singer Rita Coolidge, all-singing, all-dancing ABBA tribute show Dancing Queen, a new show from the That'll Be the Day crew and spectacular opera from the Chisinau National Opera all feature in a something-for-everyone line-up.

The evergreen Peggy Spencer will be hosting another extremely popular Evening of Ballroom Dancing to get the new season off to a (fox)trot on May 5. This time round there'll be a cabaret act as well as the Ross Mitchell Band. This time the show also includes a cabaret act to add to the enjoyment. Tickets are £12.50 for dancers, and £5.50 for others.

Making a popular return is Gervase Phinn (May 8, £14.50), whose best-selling books about life as a schools inspector in the Dales have become firm favourites.

The first of the new season's big-stage spectaculars comes on May 12 with Spirit of Broadway, a high-energy show from the creators of the ever-popular (and ever-touring) Spirit of the Dance. As you'll probably guess, this time it's Broadway's greatest shows - including Chicago and Grease - which provide the inspiration. There are two shows - 3.30 and 8pm, with tickets £19.50 and £17.50 (and concs available for matinee and under-16s).

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Joe Longthorne is happily back on the scene after taking time out to battle illness. The singer has a remarkable range of vocal impressions, from Shirley Bassey to Tom Jones, and is a genuine British entertainment legend. Tickets for his May 13 show are £22.50, concs £21.50.

After another sell-out visit from Jethro on May 14, Gerry Marsden recalls the heady days of the Merseybeat scene with Gerry Across the Mersey on May 18 (£15.50, £9.50).

The rest of May sees more entertainment variety: the latest in the popular Sunday afternoon concerts by the Norfolk Symphony Orchestra (May 20, £12, £8), “psychic detective” Tony Stockwell (May 22, £18.50), the latest comedy club (May 24, £8.50) and then the Chisinau National Opera's fully-staged production of Tosca (May 27, £32.50, £28.50, concs £2 off) with a 170-strong company and orchestra.

British trad jazz legends Acker Bilk and Kenny Ball join forces on June 1 for an evening of foot-tapping classics (£17.50, concs £16.50), followed the next evening by the Vienna Festival Ballet's production of Tchaikovsky's much-loved Swan Lake (£18.50, £16.50, £9.50 and under 16s £9.50).

The Birmingham Stage Company has produced many excellent family shows over the years and their new production looks another winner. They have adapted Roald Dahl's Danny the Champion of the World in a story suitable for the whole family but especially for ages five to 12. It's running from June 4-7, with a 7pm show every day and 10.30am matinees from Tuesday to Thursday. Tickets £12.50, under 16s £8.50, family £40, schools £7.50.

That'll Be the Day has secured its place as Britain's favourite touring musical nostalgia show by dint of hard work, talented performers and a value-for-money format which will bring more than 100 songs to the stage. The new show once again looks at the hits of the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies and is sure to be one of the new season's fastest-selling tickets. The June 8 show costs £18.50.

King's Lynn Male Voice Choir presents a very special concert on June 9, marking its Golden Jubilee (tickets £10). That's followed on June 13 by a rare UK concert appearance by Grammy Award-winning Rita Coolidge, whose varied career has included UK hits We're All Alone and Words, Bond themes (All Time High from Octopussy) and much more. Tickets £24.50.

Canadian comic Charles Ross does a single-handed Reduced Shakespeare Company-style job on the best-loved sci-fi film series of them all with his One Man Star Wars Trilogy (June 14, £14.50, under-16s £11.50, £9.50) in which he plays all the characters, sings the music, flies the ship, fights the battles and condenses the plot of the Star Wars Trilogy into just 60 minutes!

The following night sees the return of tribute show One Night of Queen (£16.50), followed on Saturday June 16 with two afternoon shows for Make Way for Noddy and Friends, full of fun, music, humour and audience participation that'll be just the ticket for ages two to six. Tickets are £10.50, children £9.50, family of four £38.

On June 17 (and almost certainly going into June 18!) is a comedy legend who needs no introduction: Ken Dodd. Tickets (£17.50), as ever, will be short supply for the man from Knotty Ash. That's followed by the Magnificent Music Hall Matinee (June 20, 2.30pm, £11.50, group discount available) and the June comedy club (June 21, £8.50).

Three nostalgic shows on three consecutive nights: June 22, The Bootleg Sixties (£16.50, £9.50); June 23, The Best Blues Brothers Show in the World - Ever! (£17.50, concs £16.50) and June 24, Chris Dean and his big band in A Tribute to the Great Ted Heath Orchestra (June 24, £16.50, concs £15.50).

The Operababes - Rebecca Knight and Karen England - were famously discovered busking in London's Covent Garden. Since then they've forged an international career at the popular end of the classics market with such albums as Beyond Imagination. They'll be appearing on June 30 in an “unplugged” show, with £18.50 and £9.50.

Irish music legend Mary Duff is at the venue on July 1 (£15.50), with psychic medium Gordon Smith dropping in on July 4 (£20). Footlights will be make two visits (July 8 and 14) with their Get Moving! show (tickets £12, concs £10), with the comedy club returning on July 12 (£8.50).

The venue hosts four of the biggest events in this year's King's Lynn Festival - The European Union Chamber Orchestra and King's Lynn Festival Chorus (July 15), Dame Kiri Te Kanawa (July 23), Freddy Kempf (July 26) and the Philharmonia Orchestra (July 28).

After a break, the season rounds off with the return of the comedy club (August 10) and then the all-action ABBA tribute Dancing Queen in a three-night run from August 16-18 (two shows on the last day), with four singers, 16 dancers, great costumes… and those classic pop tunes too. Tickets £20.50, £18.50, under 16s and seniors £14.50 5pm performance only, family of four £64.

And the little car with the big heart, Brum, rounds off the season with a summer holiday show that's ideal for children aged three to seven. He'll be driving in to the Tuesday Market Place venue on August 19 (tickets £7, family of four £26, family of three £20.50).

Bookings: 01553 764864 or download a copy of the brochure via