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Shakespeare’s link to King's Lynn guildhall is well researched, Lynn News letters

By Lynn News Reporter

The vision for the future was both positive and encouraging.

Those in any doubt as to the significance of the place were reminded of the history of the UK’s oldest theatre, built in 1410 and first used as a place of entertainment during the reign of Henry VI in 1442. The undercroft was used as a Royalist gunpowder store at the time of the Civil War.

Saved from demolition in 1945, it became the focal point of the current Festival in 1951, but in more recent years its future has sadly seemed uncertain.

King's Lynn Arts Centre - St George's Guildhall (6468321)
King's Lynn Arts Centre - St George's Guildhall (6468321)

Much research has been undertaken by Dr Matthew Woodcock, senior lecturer at the UE. in medieval history where he has assembled evidence that substantiates the fact that Shakespeare did come to King’s Lynn and his players performed in the Guildhall in the 1590s.

The town was a regular stop for early drama groups from London travelling the East Anglian circuit.

Amazingly, the theatre and complex is not listed on Wikipedia under the over two dozen historic buildings in the town! But St James Street Car Park and half a dozen demolished buildings do get a mention elsewhere on the site.

In your piece on Tuesday, January 29, you quoted the borough’s culture chairwoman as saying, ‘There is no evidence Shakespeare appeared at the Guildhall’. I would like to know what she is basing her views on that are contrary to the findings of those well qualified to research the subject? She should trust them, and in her position, use the information to promote the Guildhall to visitors and tourists as a place of prestige in the town. A place to be proud of so that the legacy of the past can be taken forward for future generations to enjoy. We must not lose it into obscurity – it needs to be used and promoted.

Tony Hunt

Stoke Ferry


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