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William Shakespeare’s April 23 birthday, King's Lynn Arts Centre Guildhall, Custom House regeneration, Town Deal - Talk of the Town

Graham Purkins, chairman of the Town Deal Board, writes Talk of the Town column

Work continues in the background on the six projects that form King’s Lynn Town Deal.

An invitation to tender for an architect-led design team to develop the designs for the Riverfront Regeneration project is about to be published with a contract value in the region of £350k. This £4.5m Towns Fund project includes rejuvenation of the Custom House, public realm works in King’s Staithe Square and South Quay, and an event space in the area between Devil’s Alley and the Millfleet. The works will support the development of the area’s use for events and social activities increasing footfall in the part of town.

King's Lynn Arts Centre - The Guildhall
King's Lynn Arts Centre - The Guildhall

Preparatory work is underway on the improvements to the town’s walking and cycling network linking key residential areas with employment, education and retail areas. We will be sharing more information on this shortly. Planning applications for the public realm work on the rail to river project are due to be submitted shortly.

Tenders from design teams for the St George’s Guildhall and Creative Hub project have been received and a preferred architect for this work will be announced imminently. The selected multi-discipline team will lead the design work on this project, which has secured just over £8m from the Government’s Town’s Fund.

It is set to transform the Guildhall and surrounding buildings into a nationally important cultural heritage site at the heart of King’s Lynn, creating a welcoming, flexible and accessible place with a varied programme of cultural, performances and art-based experiences and opportunities.

Graham Purkins, chairman of the Town Deal Board
Graham Purkins, chairman of the Town Deal Board

Following the popular Treasure-Island-themed Easter events at the Guildhall, Shakespeare’s birthday will be celebrated on April 22 and 23 with another packed programme of Tudor and Shakespearean themed activities.

From noon ‘til 4pm there will be craft sessions to make crowns, swords and shields and to write with quills. Families will be entertained with Tudor games and family-friendly Shakespeare short stories. ‘Bill’ and ‘Gnomeo and Juliet’ will be shown in the theatre and a self-led trail around the Guildhall site for youngsters to find Shakespeare’s missing props and match them to the right play, will complete the experience.

In the evening, food historian Brigitte Webster will introduce the culinary delights of Tudor times as well as busting a few myths.

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