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A Pearl of a poetic play by Shakespeare Guildhall Trust

Shakespeare Guildhall Trust (SGT) are determined that, if St George’s Guildhall has a reason to exist, then it is to present drama and entertainment unique to West Norfolk and East Anglia.

Recently it staged Kipper Feet, a ballet inspired by the poems of North End poet Frank Castleton and performed by the Noise and Chance Dance School.

Now Pearls From The Grit – performed on Tuesday, November 12 – will tell a similar story of fisherfolk, this time focusing on Lowestoft.

Tim Fitzhigham, who plays skipper Billy in Pearls From The Grit
Tim Fitzhigham, who plays skipper Billy in Pearls From The Grit

The Grit was at one time England’s most easterly fishing village.

The Pearls referred to are the stories that have been extracted from its history by poet and writer Dean Parkin.

Dean appears in the show as the narrator, alongside Tim FitzHigham, who has taken such a prominent role in campaigning to keep the King Street venue a theatre.

Tim, who plays skipper Billy, said: “I’m really excited to be bringing the show to King’s Lynn.

“We have been working with local schools such as Gaywood and Springwood and so far it has been a brilliant project.

“We want to celebrate what makes us different in East Anglia and it is great to put on truly unique local and East Anglian stories. It is a really lovely evening.”

The entertaining, tender and surprising show brings to life heroes and heroines from the heyday of East Anglia’s herring fishing industry. Pearls from The Grit mixes real stories, poems, songs and film.

Last autumn’s sell out tour drew ecstatic responses from audiences and reviewers alike – have a look on YouTube!

This led to this new tour in conjunction with an Arts Council England National Lottery grant.

Amanda Arterton from the SGT said: “The Trust is committed to putting on award winning, professional shows like this with an East Anglian theme at the Guildhall.

“It’s an added bonus for us, with our Trustee Tim FitzHigham in the cast!”

Using the words of his great friend Jack Rose as a guide, Dean travels back in time.

Audiences will meet no-nonsense fisherman, Ned; Billy, a larger-than-life skipper; Jessie, Billy’s Scottish wife; and Ruby, Billy’s daughter – two of the incredible women keeping the fishing industry afloat.

Dean says: “The Grit is a really special subject. It’s marvellous to bring Gritsters to life in their own words and hear the authentic local accent on stage, captivating audiences.

“I’m thrilled to have had the chance to develop the show and work again with the brilliant original team.”

Amanda continued: “SGT have facilitated free workshops by the Company for children in King’s Lynn and West Walton.

“Over 160 took part and will be at the school matinee on November 12.”

The show, produced by Poetry People, starts at 7.30pm and tickets are on sale at the Corn Exchange box office on 01553 764864.

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