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Guildhall bid to be restored to National Trust handbook

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Shakespeare’s Guildhall Trust (SGT) and the National Trust are seeking volunteers to help give visitors access to St George’s Guildhall in Lynn.

In recent years, the lack of access and limited opening hours has led the site to be removed from the National Trust’s handbook.

Despite this, a very small number of dedicated volunteers has been taking turns to open the Guildhall for visitors, as and when they can.

Now, following a recent meeting between the SGT and NT, it has been agreed that more can be done to promote visits to the site by the public and NT members.

For this to work, more volunteers are needed to help for two hours or more per week.

Ivor Rowlands, SGT chairman, said: “The volunteers are doing a fantastic job for the town. They have taken it upon themselves to give up their time so that the public can see inside St George’s Guildhall – the oldest working theatre in Britain.

King's Lynn Arts Centre - St George's Guildhall
King's Lynn Arts Centre - St George's Guildhall

“We’ve had a really positive meeting with the West Norfolk National Trust Association and local National Trust management and they really want to help us improve the visitor experience at the Guildhall.

To do this we need to have more regular and longer opening hours and this requires more volunteers.”

One of the volunteers, Diana Brindle, said: “A small group of us take turns to sit in the Guildhall foyer and allow visitors access to see the Guildhall.

“It could be open between 9.30am-2.30pm Monday to Saturday, but we do not currently have enough volunteers to cover all of these hours.

“We would like to have more people who can offer to take a two-hour stint each week on a regular basis.”

If you’d like to be a Guildhall volunteer, no experience or specialist knowledge is needed, but an interest in the Guildhall’s history and a friendly disposition are assets. Email SGT on shakespearesguildhall@gmail.com to volunteer.

The Guildhall is the only theatre in England that Shakespeare is known to have acted in and the SGT was set up to preserve its future as a theatre.

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

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