Puppet festival returns to town

The Firebird is one of the shows at this year's Buxton Opera Festival
The Firebird is one of the shows at this year's Buxton Opera Festival

Buxton Puppet Festival is back with a bang to celebrate its tenth birthday from July 23-28.

Events during the five-day puppet extravaganza (co-produced by Buxton Opera House and the Buxton puppet company Funny Wonders) will include a selection of performances and workshops for all ages, at the Opera House, Pavilion Arts Centre and Paupers Pit.

The Pavilion Arts Centre will play host to a delightful array of large scale puppet shows: Funny Wonders will deliver Funny Wonders & Friends, a colourful evening of puppetry featuring the Buxton Infants Puppet Club on Wednesday, July 25.

The next day (Thursday, July 26) Presto Puppets will deliver the exciting and spectacular Rumpelstiltskin & Puppet Parade, a show for all the family, based on the classic Grimm fairytale, combining marionette and rod puppets. International Purves Puppets will present The Firebird (for ages six-plus), an eye popping show with large scale puppets that glow in the dark on Thursday, July 26.

The Pavilion Arts Centre’s Studio Theatre will also serve up a delicious selection of puppet shows, with themes for all ages. On Tuesday, July 24, there will be two performances on offer – Alice In Wonderland (ages four and over) by Rough Magic Theatre will tell the story of Alice as she loses herself in the strange world of Wonderland and Rouge 28 will present Urashima Taro (for ages 14 and over), a highly visual piece using Bunraku-style puppetry about duality, seduction and death.

On Friday, July 27, the venue will host Noisy Oyster’s The Three Billy Pigs (for ages three and over) blending two classic fairy tales The Three Little Pigs and The Three Billy Goats Gruff, with beautifully crafted puppets, live music and a little bit of eco-awareness, piggy style! Idolrich Theatre’s Field of Asphodel (ages 12-plus) follows the corn goddess of ancient Greek mythology – Demeter – on her journey to recover her daughter, Persephone – told with puppetry, dance and music, also on Friday.

Other puppet shows will be also available throughout the week in the atmospheric Paupers Pit, including Diddley Dee Puppets’ offering of two puppet shows for children aged three and over – Aladdin & His Magic Lamp and Red Riding Hood, both on Monday, July 23.

Two creative and explorative treats will be delivered by Nutmeg Puppet Company, The Intangible Cities of Margherita Monticiano on Monday, July 23 (ages 14-plus) and Pip’s Wildlife Garden (ages 3-6) on Tuesday, July 24.

There are also a variety of workshops available during the festival including Potty Puppet Workshop with rod and umbrella puppets on Monday, July 23.

Shadows of Wonderland will teach the art of shadow puppetry on Tuesday, July 24, and Funny Wonders will give a demonstration and lesson in creative puppetry on July 25-26.

And, on Saturday, July 28, Idolrich will provide a workshop in 3D puppet animals entitled Endangered Species.

For more information about these shows or to buy tickets call the box office on 0845 127 2190 or buy online at www.buxtonoperahouse.org.uk.