80 years of the Assembly Hall celebrated with puppet shows

The Mead School in Tunbridge Wells gave a professional level performance in the  ISA drama contests

A special puppetry performance will be staged next week to celebrate the 80 year anniversary of the Assembly Hall Theatre.

The commissioned piece Hall of Dreams is a collaboration between the venue, Herringbone Arts creative group and the biennial Tunbridge Wells Puppetry Festival, which will return in 2019.

With the festival taking a year off in 2018, organisers wanted to engage with the community and celebrate the legacy of the Assembly Hall, before it is replaced by the Calverley Square complex.

Youngsters aged 12 to 17 are invited to take part in a workshop on Tuesday [August 7] held by Herringbone Arts, which offers an opportunity to learn more about puppetry.

Herringbone will then stage a series of free promenade performances, inspired by interviews with Assembly Hall staff and memories of Tunbridge Wells.

These four shows and the workshop will be held at the Assembly Hall Theatre.

Tunbridge Wells Puppetry Festival creator Linda Lewis said: ‘The Assembly Hall Theatre is one of our town’s most iconic and historic buildings, so we thought what better way to celebrate its 80 year anniversary than by bringing its story to life through puppetry.

‘We wanted this performance to have a real community feel: for local people to know they have been part of the journey when we present the final piece at the 2019 festival is very special.

‘Engaging young people is also very important to us. We’d love for it to inspire those who come along to continue exploring this art form and maybe even create their own puppet show.’

The puppetry workshop for 12 to 17-year-olds will be held on Tuesday, August 7, from 1.30pm to 4pm and costs £10.

The Hall of Dreams promenade performances will be held at 10.30am, 12pm, 2pm and 3.30pm and there is no charge, but booking is essential. The performance is suitable for anyone aged five and up.

For more information and booking, visit twpuppetryfestival.org/hall-of-dreams/

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