Shakespeare’s Guildhall Trust

The Guildhall Theatre is the oldest working theatre in the UK, and is the only theatre that can claim to have hosted Shakespeare.

Currently it faces an uncertain future.

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The first recorded performance at the Guildhall of St George is in 1444 making it the oldest working theatre in the UK.

New research by the UEA confirms as highly probably the oral history of King's Lynn that in summer 1592 William Shakespeare performed in the Guildhall. This is the only theatre in the world to claim to have hosted Shakespeare.

Robert Armin (Shakespeare's comedian) who created the roles of the fool in King Lear, Feste in Twelfth Night, and Autolycus in Winter's Tale (among others) was born in King's Lynn and performed at the Guildhall.

The Guildhall has played host to famous actors, performers and artists for hundreds of years and enjoyed the patronage of HM The Queen Mother until her death.

It was gifted to the National Trust by Alexander Penrose and refubished in a campaign of public subscriptions led by Lady Ruth Fermoy. It is currently still held by the National Trust and leased by the Borough Council.

A new trust has been set up whose purpose is to:

  • Promote the knowledge, understanding, and enjoyment of performance and visual arts through the use of St George’s Guildhall, King’s Lynn.
  • Celebrate and continue its 600 years' history as a living arts venue.
  • Provide educational and learning opportunities for all.

This trust wants to work with anyone dedicated to keeping the oldest theatre in the country as a theatre and arts space.

Please get in touch, we'd love to hear from you.

If you think you can help or know someone who can.
Let's keep this theatre open as a performing and visual arts space for all.

email: [email protected]

twitter: @shakespearesGH

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In line with our core values, Shakespeare’s Guildhall Trust has started a research group to compile and enhance knowledge of the extraordinary heritage of the Guildhall.
Please get in touch if you would like to be involved or have information you feel might be useful.

email: [email protected]

As part of our firm commitment to outreach and education, Shakespeare's Guildhall Trust has started to work with schools.
This is really exciting and if you would like to become part of this, or are a school that is interested please get in touch

email: [email protected]