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Preserving the past, embracing the arts, building a future

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This month we’re sharing an update on the Guildhall complex.

Michael Baldwin, vice-chair of the Town Deal Board and chair of the Guildhall Complex Advisory Group said: “St George’s Guildhall is a hugely important historical and cultural asset for the town and I am thrilled to see the significant progress that is being made in enhancing its place and role in King’s Lynn.

“We’re working collaboratively with our partners and stakeholders to develop a vision for the complex. We want it to be a welcoming, flexible, and accessible place for arts and culture, offering a diverse and expanded programme of experiences and opportunities.

Tim FitzHigham (52693261)
Tim FitzHigham (52693261)

Playing a key role in this is Tim FitzHigham who has been appointed interim creative director by consultants FEI.”

Tim FitzHigham: "It’s not a secret, I love King’s Lynn. I was born here and spent my early years in the borough. As an actor being the baddie in Paddington 2 or touring the world pre-Covid making people laugh, I always fly the flag for Norfolk and King’s Lynn. I’m happy to be a West Norfolk boy.

"I love the Guildhall theatre. It’s the only place I perform where my parents have also performed.

"For a long time, I have been concerned to find a viable future for this special building and the site as a whole. As interim creative director of the Guildhall Creative Hub project on King Street I’m trying to help create a coordinated plan, not just for the Guildhall theatre which is the oldest working theatre in the UK, but for all areas of the site from road to river.

The Guildhall theatre has an unrivalled history of performance with the first documented show in the venue being in 1445. I first heard the rumours that Shakespeare performed there as a child and it’s been a genuine pleasure to take part in the academic research which appears to support this. It is also nice to see the other King’s Lynn comedian Robert Armin, who was Shakespeare’s comedian, become more known and recognised as that is going to be key if we are to fully achieve the potential of what the King Street site can offer.

"With the Towns Fund investment, we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to reinvigorate something that’s been a vital part of Lynn since those members of the Guild first stepped onto a stage in the Guildhall 576 years ago: this project can deliver something transformative for Lynn.

"I am attempting to prepare a difficult piece of work in a very tight time frame: an outline activity plan to show what all areas of the site will be used for. I am holding a series of meetings, hearing from as many people as I can, to shape it. This plan will then inform the business plan for the site which enables us to unlock the funding we have and raise more money in future. It is a massive project and requires everyone to play their part.

"We have a great team working hard together on the King Street site including the borough council, National Trust, Norfolk Museums Service and Norfolk County Council and many organisations and individuals who sit on the advisory board. In this huge team effort, no one part is more important than another. We all have to get behind the Guildhall Creative Hub to get the very best for Lynn."

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