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King's Lynn theatre trust given charity status




It has only been going a matter of months, but already the Shakespeare’s Guildhall Trust (SGT) has won recognition of its charitable work by the Charity Commission.

This week it received the all-important letter from the commission stating that its application has been successful and that it had been awarded charitable status.

The letter from the Commission said, “We are satisfied that Shakespeare’s Guildhall Trust (King’s Lynn) is a charity and it has been entered onto the Register of Charities with the Registered Charity Number 1185448.”

The original six SGT trustees who are cited on the Charity Commission website, on the Guildhall stage, left to right,Nick Balaam, Veronica Sekules, Ivor Rowlands, Tim FitzHigham, Adrian Parker, Michael Hankinson.
The original six SGT trustees who are cited on the Charity Commission website, on the Guildhall stage, left to right,Nick Balaam, Veronica Sekules, Ivor Rowlands, Tim FitzHigham, Adrian Parker, Michael Hankinson.

Ivor Rowlands, chairman of SGT, said: “This is a great boost for all of our supporters and is a significant step on the way to SGT achieving its aims of creating a sustainable asset for the community that is true to the intentions of those who rescued St George’s Guildhall in the 1940s and 50s – led by Alexander Penrose and Lady Ruth Fermoy.”

The SGT was started after it appeared that the Guildhall may be lost as a public theatre and turned into an art gallery.

Although owned by the National Trust it is administered by West Norfolk Council who had been in talks with a wealthy benefactor who wanted to exhibit his art collection there.

The interior of the St George's Guildhall in King's Lynn.
The interior of the St George's Guildhall in King's Lynn.

The SGT said the loss of the only surviving theatre in which William Shakespeare was known to have performed would be a great loss.

The aims of Shakespeare’s Guildhall Trust, approved by the Charity Commission are:

1 To advance public knowledge and understanding of the arts, culture and heritage through the provision and management of relevant public activities and events at St George’s Guildhall.

2 To provide for the benefit of the public education in the visual and performing arts, including theatre technical skills.

3 To advance the education of the public in theatrical history and traditions through research and interpretation of the history of St George’s Guildhall.

The St George's Guildhall in Lynn.
The St George's Guildhall in Lynn.

Charitable status is important for the Shakespear Guildhall Trust because it not only allows certain financial advantages, but it also acts as an endorsement of their objectives and will hopefully encourage wider support for their cause.

The trustees are trying to raise in excess of £50,000 to fund the development of a fully costed business plan with architect’s designs for a refurbished Guildhall. The anticipated costs of the final project will be in excess of £5 million and provide a venue of national and international significance in Lynn.

The next fundraising performance will be Jazz Sunday on October 6, at 2.30pm with a live performance from John Petters’ Gatsby Five, followed by the film Paris Blues at 6pm. Tickets are on sale now at the Corn Exchange Box OfficeDonations to .

SGT are welcome and can be made by cheque, payable to Shakespeare’s Guildhall Trust and posted to 6 Thoresby College, Queen Street, King’s Lynn PE30 1HX, or by contacting SGT by email at shakespearesguildhall@gmail.com


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