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Summer fun at the UK’s oldest working theatre getting rave reviews

Rachael Williams, Learning and Engagement Officer, with some of the children taking part in the activities.

Published: Friday, 19th August 2022

Published on behalf of Vision King's Lynn.

Activities offering local children the chance to get up on stage and deliver lines from some of Shakespeare’s best-known works have been going down a storm.

Throughout the summer, Stories of Lynn, and Norfolk Museums Service with support from the Borough Council are providing an exciting and fun programme of Shakespeare-inspired activities to engage young people and their families both with the work of The Bard, and the history of one of King's Lynn's most treasured historic assets - St George's Guildhall. In the first three weeks, the stage has been set for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet and As You Like It. Children have been dressing up, making props, and delivering lines.

When asked to sum up their experience, participants have described the day as ‘brilliant’, ‘amazing’ and ‘the best event yet!’

“We have had a fantastic time playing here with Shakespeare and the young people”, said Rachael Williams, Learning and Engagement Officer, Stories of Lynn. “They have all loved making the props, exploring the theatre and treading the boards in characters from his plays,” added Dayna Woolbright, Assistant Curator, Lynn Museum. The ‘Play here with Shakespeare’ sessions for families, and the young people’s ‘Play in a Day’ sessions, have been great fun and very well received. The children and young people have given rave reviews about how they loved acting on stage, searching through the props cupboard to choose their costumes and finding out about behind the scenes in a theatre. The participants have grown in confidence as they have got involved with the performance on stage. Learning the language used by Shakespeare is not easy, but with the approach being used, the children and young people have certainly got to grips with scenes.”

Tim FitzHigham, who presented shows on CBBC and is in Paddington 2, is now Interim Creative Director at the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk. He said:

"I’m delighted the young people who have come along to the Guildhall with their families have had fun, and found out about the connection their town has to Shakespeare, we’re looking forward to welcoming more families.”

“We’re working hard with the King's Lynn Town Deal Board, National Trust, Norfolk Museums Service following a community consultation, to create a vision for the Guildhall that is vibrant and exciting and can offer more opportunities like this. In a nutshell, we want to preserve the arts, embrace the past and build a future that is economically sustainable. Our plan is to create a nationally important art, cultural and heritage centre at the heart of King’s Lynn which will have at its core, the oldest working theatre in the country."

The first recorded performance at the St George's Guildhall dates back to 1445.

Tim continued:

"For kids and families this summer, we’re saying, come and have fun, make things, laugh and play with Shakespeare’s stories in the only working theatre left where we can credibly claim William Shakespeare also played. I think he would love it and we hope the young people and children that come do too.”

"The activity sessions that will be delivered by Stories of Lynn and Norfolk Museums Service will give people a chance to have a good look around the theatre, see what’s going to be happening, as well as getting on stage and playing a Shakespearean character. We’ve got activities for all so come along and get involved: it would be lovely to see you."

‘Shake it all out’ events are for 5 - 12-year-olds - who must be accompanied by an adult. There are places available to book now.

Shake it all out

£2 per child, accompanying adult free. Sessions run 10:30am to 11:45am, 12:30pm to 1:45pm and 2pm to 3:15pm. Recommended for ages 5 - 12. All those attending a session must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

Explore St George’s theatre, enjoy a short, family friendly version of the story, then get involved with activities inspired by each play, before dressing up and delivering your lines on stage.

  • Wednesday 24 August - Bill’s boats (The Tempest)

Make junk model boats and test their strength against stormy waters.

  • Wednesday 31 August - Hubble, bubble, toil and trouble (Macbeth)

Make a witch’s brew and create your own spell.

Booking for the session is essential and must be done through the King's Lynn Corn Exchange box office.

To find out more about the work of the King's Lynn Town Deal Board, and the vision for the St George's Guildhall and Creative Hub, visit the Vision King's Lynn website.

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