Plans to refurbish the Grade 1 listed St George’s Guildhall in the centre of King’s Lynn are set to be unveiled for further public engagement in the coming weeks. The project to renovate the theatre into a welcoming accessible space and the development of a new hub for creative businesses is a pivotal part of the transformational £25m Town Investment Plan for King’s Lynn.
The Grade 1 listed St George’s Guildhall is Britain’s oldest working theatre, with performances since 1445. Recent academic research supports local tradition that Shakespeare performed at the Guildhall in 1593 and Shakespeare’s comedian Robert Armin was born in King’s Lynn. Concept designs detailing how the auditorium could function for Elizabethan-style theatre, whilst embracing modern features to allow for flexibility and access, are being developed by architects Foster Wilson Size. The scheme takes in additional spaces from road to river, highlighting the potential to maximise the number of visitors to this unique heritage location. A new hub, for creative enterprise is also being proposed in a currently under-utilised building.
Consultation meetings with the public, specialists and users of the site have taken place in recent months to help create a plan that will serve the local community and beyond, and the project team are hosting a series of sessions in the coming weeks that will unveil this exciting vision and potential future for St George’s Guildhall and Creative Hub.
Michael Baldwin, Vice-Chair of the Town Deal Board and Chair of the Guildhall Advisory Group said:
“Our ambition is for St George’s Guildhall to be a nationally important cultural heritage site at the heart of King’s Lynn’s arts and culture scene. To make this happen, working together is key. Over the last few months, we have been collaborating with a range of stakeholders, listening to different perspectives and ideas through a series of workshops.
We are grateful for everyone’s involvement which helped us develop a business plan to secure a sustainable future for this much-loved venue.”
Councillor Graham Middleton, Chair of St George’s Guildhall & Creative Hub Project Board added:
“The engagement that has taken place over the last few months represents an important step towards achieving our aspirations for the Guildhall. With a new vision for the site and with the feedback we have gained, we are in a great position to shape what we can offer for both local people and visitors to our town.”
Interim Creative Director, Tim FitzHigham said:
“I want to thank all of the many, many people who have taken part in the consultation, those in the organisations they represent and King’s Lynn generally for your support and encouragement so far. Thank you. We are finalising drafts of the work we’ve been doing and can’t wait to share the excitement with you very soon. There will continue to be a theatre and an art gallery on the site, and we hope by suggesting these plans, they will be there, sustainable, financially robust and re-invigorated, for lots of happy years to come”.