Huge crowds make Tunbridge Wells Puppetry Festival a success

Lee Colyer

More than 2,500 packed the town to see the second Tunbridge Wells Puppetry Festival on Friday and Saturday, making it ‘huge success’.


Scores of children and adults were entertained at multiple venues, including Trinity Theatre, The Pantiles, The Forum and The Assembly Hall. The festival is the only event of its kind in the South East.


The shows included The Carnival of the Animals, Clementine’s Fabulous Roadshow, The Ugly Duckling and a colourful exhibition and Masterclass at Trinity Theatre revealing the secrets of the stunning stage creations in the West End’s The Lion King.


The puppets on display from the Disney musical saw lion king Mufasa (father of cub Simba) and sparky hornbill Zazu taking centre stage in Trinity’s gallery, accompanied by evocative African music from the show.


Costumes, masks and sketches were also showcased, giving a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse into the magic of Julie Taymor’s exquisite designs for the show.


Festival creator Linda Lewis, who was raised in the town, said: “Saturday brought a fantastic day of puppetry to Tunbridge Wells. There were over 2,500 people enjoying magnificent free shows on The Pantiles and in theatre spaces around the town. We’ve had such lovely comments from people who came along.  It was a great day out for everyone in town.”


This year’s extended two-day festival was supported by Arts Council England, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, Kent County Council and many local sponsors.

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