King’s Lynn Arts Centre transformed into Mart school

Mart School at King's Lynn Arts Centre, organisers and youngsters taking part in the activity ANL-150226-133708009
Mart School at King's Lynn Arts Centre, organisers and youngsters taking part in the activity ANL-150226-133708009

Thousands of people have descended on Lynn over the last two weeks to enjoy the sights and sounds of the town’s historic Mart, which closed on Saturday.

But, while funseekers have been flocking to the Tuesday Market Place to enjoy the rides, a nearby venue has been transformed into a temporary school for children of the fair operators.

Mart School at King's Lynn Arts Centre, Amber Lawrence with youngsters using the printing press ANL-150226-133624009

Mart School at King's Lynn Arts Centre, Amber Lawrence with youngsters using the printing press ANL-150226-133624009

The scheme, known as the “Mart School”, is hosted by the Lynn Arts Centre in King Street and is thought to be the only initiative of its kind in the country.

Now in its third year, the centre works alongside the Norfolk Travellers’ Education Service to provide a week-long programme of classes for the children of the showmen.

The centre’s director, Liz Falconbridge, said: “The Mart coming to King’s Lynn is such a popular event for the town and we are delighted to be able to host the Mart School.

“Our cultural venue prioritises inclusion and embeds engagement, education, informal learning and employability skills throughout our work.

Mart School at King's Lynn Arts Centre, 'Asa Smart (10) getting to grips with the drawing task ANL-150226-133636009

Mart School at King's Lynn Arts Centre, 'Asa Smart (10) getting to grips with the drawing task ANL-150226-133636009

“The Mart School is a perfect example of such work and is a unique and entrepreneurial educational initiative that we are proud to be involved in with the Travellers Community. It has proved tremendously successful.”

This year’s timetable included sessions about shadow and stick puppets, masks and sound-scapes, plus creative writing exercises based on the theme of the First World War and a visit by staff from the Norwich Writers’ Centre.

Ahead of the school week, the centre hosted a Teachers’ Inset workshop to help teachers brush up on their artistic skills before the children arrive.

A number of artists also deliver sessions during the school week, while exhibitions are specifically scheduled for the Mart period to enhance the programme offered.