Plans to refurbish and enhance King’s Lynn’s Grade 1 Listed St George’s Guildhall complex are moving forward with the appointment of Tim FitzHigham as Interim Creative Director for the project.
St George’s Guildhall Complex is one of the Town Deal projects – being led by the Town Deal Board – and, subject to a successful business case, is set to benefit from significant investment after £25M town deal funding was announced for King’s Lynn in the summer.
King’s Lynn born actor, writer and producer Tim has been involved in finding a way to ensure a safe future for the Guildhall since 2016. He performed there (as did his parents) and co-authored the latest history of the building used by the Borough Council, National Trust and available at the Guildhall. He will be working for cultural venue specialists FEI who are producing the business plan and business case required to secure the investment for the project.
The appointments of Tim FitzHigham and FEI signal the start of focused engagement around the future of the Guildhall. This will include a meeting to gauge feedback from users and potential users of the venue. The event is for invitees from a range of arts, cultural, and creative organisations and will focus on the performance and gallery spaces. This meeting will be followed by further meetings which will capture different views and ideas for the venue to shape the business case and delivery plan.
At the same time, a new vision is being developed for the project with The Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, National Trust, Norfolk Museums Service, and Norfolk Arts Service.
Tim FitzHigham commented: “St George’s Guildhall is a much-loved venue with a rich heritage. It is an asset for King’s Lynn of which we can all be proud.
“With the Towns Fund investment, and through partnership working, we have a huge opportunity to develop the Guildhall’s offer, and deliver a transformative cultural project to benefit very many people.
“Through the work we will be doing in the coming months, through our engagement with key stakeholders and partners, we will be able to maximise the Guildhall’s past as we secure its sustainable future. This is a hugely exciting time for the project.”
Further support will also be made available shortly with recruitment by the National Trust for a Senior Project Manager underway .
Michael Baldwin, Vice-Chair of the Town Deal Board and Chair of the Guildhall Complex Advisory Group said: “St George’s Guildhall is a hugely important historical and cultural asset for the town and I am thrilled to see the significant progress that is being made in enhancing its place and role in King’s Lynn.
“We are pleased to be working in partnership with other organisations and stakeholders to develop and deliver a coherent vision for the Guildhall. Through our shared commitment and collaboration, the Guildhall complex will become King’s Lynn’s cultural and creative hub that offers even more for local people and visitors to our town.”
Russell Clement, General Manager for the National Trust said: “St George’s Guildhall is the oldest working theatre in the UK and it’s heartening to witness plans progressing and work gathering pace to ensure we safeguard this historic site and share its many stories.
“I’m very happy to be part of the team supporting the borough council in this ambitious and significant project and it’s important that we work in partnership with others to create a space that future generations of King’s Lynn can be proud of and enjoy. To do this, we need to take the time now, to ensure we gather the thoughts and ideas from the communities who use the building or hope to do so in the future.”