Posted Mar 11 2019

King’s Lynn Festival’s second EXTRA mini festival weekend of music, talks, drama and exhibitions April 26-28

To complement the town’s first Shakespeare Festival, the King’s Lynn Festival have programmed a series of events in Lynn’s historic buildings to celebrate music and people of the Elizabethan era.  EXTRA begins on Friday 26th with a 11am coffee concert,   Inspired by Shakespeare, at the Town Hall where pianist Patrick Hemmerle will perform works music by Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy and Prokoviev which are associated with Shakespeare’s plays. 

Later that day Fontanella, a quintet of recorder players, will present a varied programme entitled The Woods So Wild at All Saints Church at 5.30pm.  Since the 1500s, the distinctive sound of the recorder has been used to imitate birdsong, inspiring generations of musicians and composers. This beautiful hour-long programme presents a feast of music of ancient woods with pieces by William Byrd, Henry VIII, Monteverdi, Vivaldi, Purcell and Marenzio, as well as some jazz arrangements and new sounds. 

They will also perform a special interactive hour long concert for primary schools at 1.30pm in the same venue.

The Festival will return to All Saints on April 27 at 5.30pm when one of Britain’s foremost harpsichordists, Jane Chapman, will perform From Byrd to Bird.  "Britain's most progressive harpsichordist" -  Jane Chapman is at the forefront of creating and inspiring new music for harpsichord. She has premiered over 200 solo, chamber and electroacoustic works for the instrument worldwide. Equally passionate about baroque and contemporary music, she has collaborated with ground-breaking composers, artists and dancers, working with musicians from the worlds of Indian music, jazz, and the avant-garde. One of Britain’s foremost harpsichordists Jane Chapman brings to life music from the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book and the Oriental Miscellany in this hour-long programme. 

Wall Street Journal "Jane Chapman is one of Britain's most distinguished classical harpsichordists, with a repertoire that stretches from early music to contemporary avant-garde. Her work is rapidly bringing the harpsichord into the 21st century and establishing her reputation as a rule-breaker."

At 3.30pm on April 27 historian Dr Paul Richards will lead a guided walk exploring Shakespeare’s Lynn.

Author Kate Hubbard will tell the remarkable story of Bess of Hardwick and her ascent through Elizabethan Society. Bess was a businesswoman, money-lender, husband manipulator and property tycoon and this illustrated discussion will show her ascent through Elizabethan society and the houses she built that shaped British architectural history.   Kate will be in conversation with Bess the Commoner Director and writer, Kevin Fegan at the Duke’s Head Hotel Ballroom on April 28 at 5pm.  The ticket price includes tea/coffee which will be available from 4.30pm.

Our weekend culminates in a first for the Festival, a drama performance in a church - St Nicholas’ Chapel at 7.30pm we present a one woman play -  Bess the Commoner Queen featuring Michelle Todd in a show combining powerful live performance and film shot on location at Hardwick Hall.  This multi-media theatrical performance is a story of survival and astonishing business success in the brutal world of Elizabethan politics, as witnessed first-hand by Bess of Hardwick. Born a farmer's daughter, Bess rose to become the richest woman in Elizabethan England, creating the Cavendish dynasty, building Chatsworth House and Hardwick Hall and becoming a “maker of queens”. An ambitious show presented as a seamless mix of powerful live performance and luscious film, shot on location at Hardwick Hall.

"A tour de force, striking outstanding production, a triumph for actress Michelle Todd and playwright Kevin Fegan" - British Theatre Guide

Our EXTRA weekend is accommpanied by a contrasting programme of the visual arts.  An exhibition of modern and contemporary art – Landscape in Abstraction - from Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery will be on show at the Fermoy Gallery at the Guildhall Complex, off King Street, from April 13 to May 4.  The exhibition programme will be supported by a series of workshops for children, family and adults run in partnership with Stories of Lynn.  The BCKLWN have also kindly agreed to open their archive from 10 – 2pm on 27th April so people can enjoy slideshows, artifacts and maps from Lynn’s historical past (see our website/PDF for details).

Call the box office at the Corn Exchange (01553 764864) or visit

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