This weekend, join Mr Punch as he celebrates his 357th birthday in Covent Garden.
The May Fayre and Puppet Festival will be held in the garden of St Paul’s Church on Bedford Street. St Paul’s is known as the actors’ church and is near the spot where Samuel Pepys first saw Mr Punch in England, in May 1662.
On Sunday 12th May, Punch and Judy Professors and Puppeteers from all over the country will be performing in the garden throughout the day. Everyone is welcome to enjoy the shows, celebrating the art of puppetry and Mr Punch’s birthday.
This year, there will be two special celebrations: Professor Bryan Clarke’s 80th birthday party at 3pm, and Bob Pelham’s 100th anniversary with a Puppet Pantomime by David Leech, the present owner of the original Pelham Puppets.
The event will begin at 11am with a Grand Procession around Covent Garden, starting from the church garden. The procession will be led by the Superior Brass Band and will include a birthday toast to Mr Punch by the commemorative plaque on the church wall in the Central Piazza.
At 12pm, there will be a special church service, with Mr Punch in the Pulpit. Then, from 12.30pm, there will be Punch & Judy and other puppet shows taking place. There will also be puppet workshops, stalls, refreshments, folk music by The Lost Marbles String Band, Maypole dancing and clowns.
The British Puppet and Model Theatre Guild, The Punch and Judy Fellowship, and The Punch & Judy Club will all be represented at the festival and the stalls will be run by community groups and charities, including the Covent Garden Community Association. Refreshments will be provided by the Food Chain, who are raising funds to help provide nutritional support for people living with HIV in London.
When: 12th May 2019
Where: In the garden of St Paul’s Church, Bedford Street, London WC2
£: Free admission
More info: www.alternativearts.co.uk