Norfolk

Shakespeare cited in King's Lynn St George's Day parade

Dragon parade
Image caption Whifflers, who led the parade through King's Lynn and whose job is to keep the route clear, are also mentioned in Shakespeare's play Henry V

St George's Day was marked by a dragon parade to highlight links between Shakespeare and a town's theatre.

University of East Anglia researchers found the playwright performed at King's Lynn's St George's Guildhall in 1592.

He was also born on St George's Day in 1564 and died the same day in 1616.

Snap the Dragon led the parade, visiting for the first time since 1546, to launch a £100,000 campaign to renovate the theatre, organisers said.

Image caption Tim FitzHigham in character as Henry V rousing his troops to battle

To launch the appeal, a lunch was put on at which Royal Shakespeare Company actor and British Shakespeare Association board member Tim FitzHigham read a passage from Shakespeare's Henry V.

In the play, the character of the king called his men to battle with the speech: "I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips, straining upon the start.

"The game's afoot: Follow your spirit, and upon this charge cry God for Harry, England, and Saint George!"

The Shakespeare's Guildhall Trust, which organised the lunch, is campaigning to retain the building as a mixed arts venue.

Image caption The new version of the fearsome Snap the Dragon appeared - the character's first visit to King's Lynn since 1546

As campaign funds come in over the next 12 months, the Guildhall, which is currently mainly in use as a cinema with occasional stage performances, will be renovated for all performance arts, the Trust said.

The building is owned by the National Trust, but leased to the borough council.

Built in 1410, its first recorded use as a theatre was in 1444, and it is believed to be England's oldest theatre still in use for staged productions.

Image caption St George's Guildhall in King's Lynn is to be transformed into a centre for the performing arts

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