Puppeteers at Nottingham festival

A puppet festival is returning to Nottingham in May 2020 two years after proving a surprise hit with people in the city.

Nottingham Puppet Festival starts on Saturday, May 16 and runs over four weeks.

Working with organisations and venues such as Nottingham City Council, Nottingham Playhouse, New Art Exchange, Broadway Cinema, ChalleNGe Nottingham, Radford Care Group, Lakeside Arts, Nonsuch Studios and Squire Performing Arts Centre, the festival will once again showcase the finest puppetry from across the country. These include Half a String, Little Angel, Norwich Puppet Theatre and Ditto Theatre Company.

The full festival programme will be launched at the beginning of April. Highlights will include puppet walkabouts at Old Market Square, a unique combination of hip-hop and puppetry at Breakin’ Convention at the Royal Concert Hall, plus puppetry talks and a national puppetry symposium at Nottingham Trent University. City Arts will produce a new outdoor show featuring festival mascot Maid Marionette and there will be bursaries available to support local artists to create new work. The festival programme will feature visits from some very famous TV puppets and the return of the infamous late-night puppet cabaret at the Theatre Royal.

Giant outdoor musical spectacular, JINGAH!, will be the centrepiece event of the festival taking place on the weekend of Saturday, June 6 and 7 June at Old Market Square. JINGAH! will feature a cast of world class performers and larger than life-size puppets, with acrobatic musicians and singers from around the globe.  This environmentally-themed production, supported by Arts Council England, is a new show written by Berlin-based musicians Duncan Townsend & Chloé Charody. 

David Longford, the Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall creative learning manager, said: “We were overwhelmed with the response to the first Puppet Festival in 2018, which saw over 23,000 people engage with the festival over four exhilarating days.  We have now widened the festival, linking up with some of the other exciting events that Nottingham has to offer, such as the Spiegeltent in Old Market Square and Lakeside’s Wheee! Festival.  Our Puppet Festival in 2020 will now really establish itself as a major Nottingham event and is a shining example of how so many venues and organisations can work together across the city.”

Alison Denholm, Creative development manager at City Arts, said: “City Arts is delighted to once again be at the heart of this amazing festival with our partners Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall and Nottingham Trent University. The 2020 programme explores puppetry in its many forms and celebrates how accessible, playful and joyous it can be. Along with our network of partners who support the festival, we look forward to bringing outdoor spectacle that is accessible for all, alongside new ideas, artist commissions, shows, workshops and talks to the communities of Nottingham.”

The Nottingham Puppet Festival 2020 is funded by Arts Council England, and further supported by funds from NTU and City Arts.

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