A medieval minster town in East Yorkshire is set to see the return of the world’s largest festival of British puppetry to its cobbled streets this summer.
Normally only held every two years, Beverley Puppet Festival went virtual for 2020, but this year will once again be transforming this picturesque market town into a stage for the biggest celebration of home-grown puppetry anywhere in the world.
Over the weekend of 15-17 July, crowds will be treated to a host of puppetry performances as this – the 10th festival to be staged – welcomes back indoor puppet shows and outdoor street theatre for adults, children and families alike.
Since the festival launched in 2005, every other year hundreds of puppets – from marionettes to Muppets – have taken over this small market town for one weekend only.
But if this conjures-up visions of traditional Punch & Judy, Sooty and Sweep, or fond memories of the likes of Thunderbirds, then think again.
In previous years the event has revealed just how diverse and powerful this art form can be… and not just for kids.
While there is always plenty of family entertainment on offer, the last festival in 2018 featured five evening shows for adults only (or at least the over 12s!).
Under the shadow of the magnificent 13th century Minster, Beverley – with its narrow streets and historic buildings – comes alive with amazing sights with past highlights including space-age dinosaurs bounding down the high street; green woodland sprites leaping onto people’s arms for a chat about composting; and an old man puppet in a wheelchair accompanied by dancing fossils.
While this year’s line-up is yet to be revealed, the Festival also traditionally offers workshops with a chance to “design and make your own puppet”.
And while the Festival challenges traditional images of puppetry, past events have also included an actual appearance by Punch and Judy, who have been around for over 350 years.
To stay updated on details of this year’s Festival, visit www.beverleypuppetfestival.com
For more details about things to do and where to stay in East Yorkshire as a destination, see www.visiteastyorkshire.co.uk
Photo: Dolly the Giraffe by VIP Puppets, 2018 Festival, by Scott Wigglesworth