More than 40 puppet theatre companies will be descending on East Yorkshire at this year’s Beverley Puppet Festival which runs from Friday, July 15 to Sunday, July 17 in indoor and outdoor venues across the town.
Tickets are now on sale for over 60 events, plus a six-day puppet making workshop for adults, with the festival opening on Friday evening with the Eurovision Sock Contest, by the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre, and Zippy And Me, a talk by puppeteer Ronnie Le Drew.
“Funny, moving, thought-provoking, and never less than entertaining, we think there’s something for everyone,” said Kerrin Tatman, co-festival director, unveiling the full programme for the first time this week.
“I never fail to be astonished at what people come up with in their shows, the skills, imagination and vital arts and life experiences they bring. Anna (Ingleby) and I think the individual and collective voices and visions on display will make for a memorable weekend and help us all to put aside the difficulties of the last couple of years. Having a fully live festival like this year’s certainly feels like a long time coming and is well overdue.”
Many of the shows are free to watch and take part in, but where tickets are priced, they range from £4 to £12; there are shows in the morning, afternoon and evening, and for children, teens, families, and adults.
One undoubted highlight is The Whale: Plastic Ocean by Circo Rum Ba Ba at Flemingate. This environmentally-themed 30-minute show is for children under 10 and families who can enter the belly of an enormous inflatable Sperm Whale where they find themselves in the depths of the bubbling, kelp-swirling ocean. They encounter an aquabatic diver who leads them swimmingly through the age-old journey of the life of an ancient leatherback turtle.
With the use of exquisite puppets, comedy and music, Circo Rum Ba Ba explores the tale of sea creatures and their battle to survive in an ocean full of rubbish, but can the audience save them?
Another inflatable creature will be the Arachnobot by London-based puppeteer, Tim Davies.
Anna Ingleby, the co-festival director, said:
“This is perfect aversion therapy for arachnophobes, including myself, who may have developed a fear of spiders through watching giant ones on Dr.Who as a child!
“Hopefully people may start to see such creatures in a different light. Indeed several shows in the festival highlight the plight of wildlife and the importance of our ecosystem.”
Throughout this July’s festival, there will be free outdoor acts and ticketed indoor shows including at East Riding Theatre, Beverley Friary & Gardens, Beverley Masonic Hall, Toll Gavel Church, The Friary Nursery, East Riding College, the Minster’s Peter Harrison Room and Parkway Cinema, as well as on Beverley’s shopping streets and at the Flemingate Centre.
Other acts at this year’s festival include Long Nose Puppets’ family show The Hug, which is based on the popular children’s book; and adult shows including Big Boys don’t Cry by Opposable Thumb whose show Coulrophobia was a big hit in 2018.
The festival’s new six-day Puppet Making Workshop called ‘Winged Creatures’ with Judith Hope Puppet Maker, runs from July 10th-15th and will allow adult participants to create their own moving-winged creature puppets which they’ll be able to take away with them.
Participants will learn to translate their 2D drawings into 3D, to carve styrofoam, model fine features, shape in plastazote, and make a simple flying puppet mechanism.
Judith Hope is a London based puppet maker who creates puppets for theatre, commercials and festivals, some of which can be seen performing at this year’s festival in The Keeper’s Nests.
Applications are also still open for Volunteer Positions at this July’s festival but need to be in by June 1st www.beverleypuppetfestival.com/volunteer