Commissioned in 1714 by the Borough Council, the architects John Price the elder and John Price the younger of Richmond modelled this church on Sir Christopher Wren’s church of St Clement Danes. The resulting building is now recognised as one of the finest examples of Baroque Church architecture outside of London, and is Grade I listed.
After its deconsecration in 1959, the chapel fell into disrepair, and narrowly escaped demolition. In the 1970s, a group of dedicated local people worked with the amateur dramatic society The Masquers to establish the redundant chapel as a venue for the arts. St George’s hosted many performances in the following decades, but the building was forced to close in 2006 due to severe structural defects, and was entered onto the Buildings at Risk Register.
In 2009, the Trust worked in partnership with Great Yarmouth Borough Council to acquire the funding necessary to enable the restoration of the chapel and its transformation into an arts centre and theatre, the flagship in a multi-million pound conservation-led regeneration scheme. Architect Sir Michael Hopkins was responsible for design, with the Trust and the Borough Conservation Team providing technical advice and supervision.
During the works, historic paint finishes of national significance were discovered. The Trust managed and funded this element of the project, ensuring its conservation.
The project was funded by: the Heritage Lottery Fund; Townscape Heritage Initiative; English Heritage; East of England Development Agency; CABE; Great Yarmouth Borough Council; Norfolk County Council and the Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust.
Thanks to the repairs to the chapel, the building was removed from the Buildings at Risk Register. The project has been recognised by winning both the 2014 RIBA National Award and in the ‘Reuse of a Georgian Building’ category at the 2014 Georgian Group Architectural Awards.
Click here to visit the theatre's website.