Initial redevelopment plans have been revealed for a historic theatre and arts centre in Norfolk.
King’s Lynn Arts Centre consists of St George’s Guildhall, which claims to be the only surviving venue in which Shakespeare performed, as well as four gallery spaces.
The complex has been operated by a trust set up by residents since December 2018, following concerns that the venue was showing signs of deterioration.
Now the group, called Shakespeare’s Guildhall Trust, has revealed plans for a major refurbishment of the arts complex, which it has developed with theatre specialists Foster Wilson Architects.
Plans include remodelling the main auditorium to remove “inflexible raked seating” and reinstate a flat floor, with removable tiered seating for 300 people.
Backstage and public areas will be made accessible to wheelchair users, and the entrance to the theatre will be remodelled to create a “welcoming, open foyer”.
The proposals also include additional performance and rehearsal spaces in other areas of the arts complex as well as galleries, spaces available for commercial hire, offices and restaurants.
These plans were presented to the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, which leases the building, on December 17.
They are currently at an early stage and will be further developed once a working relationship is agreed between Shakespeare’s Guildhall Trust, the National Trust, which owns the building, and the council.
SGT has said that it will apply for funding for the capital project from sources including the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Arts Council England.