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The Puppetry Festival is a biannual festival in Tunbridge Wells. This will be our 4th and we will present over 40 shows from Fri to Sun (15th-17th Oct 2021) along with schools and community workshops. We would like support for our free outdoor programme which is available for everyone to enjoy and suitable for all ages. The festival runs throughout the town centre and the free events take place over 3 main sites creating a 'town trail' for everyone to follow and enjoy including the shopping centre, the public park and the historical Pantiles. Among our performers are schools, an interactive honeycomb to save our bees, Asian street theatre, jukes boxes full of pop stars, a postman needing your help and The Moon. We are excited to have volunteers from schools and the community to encourage and empower through participation. Each show will perform 3 times a day and The Moon will be available to audiences for the duration of the festival No booking is required just turn up and enjoy.
What we'll deliver:
Why it's a great idea:
TWPF will provide an inspirational programme of puppetry suitable for all ages that brings people together safely and is accessible for all sectors of the community. Volunteers can learn how a festival is run. The free entertainment will link the two ends of Tunbridge Wells and encourage those who may never have experienced live theatre before to engage with the performances. TWPF will identify, support and nurture new, emerging young talent through their ‘Unlocked’ digital competition and the programmed free schools performances. A series of free workshops will take place at the Mental Health Resource Charity, a drop in centre for young adults suffering from severe anxiety. The events all have an underlying theme of compassion and will build on the audience's awareness of taking care of each other and our planet. TWPF will be marketed to attract more visitors to the town, providing economic development, and building the cultural offer and appreciation of the whole town.
Steps to get it done:
Throughout lockdown the TWPF ran a competition set up to identify & support burgeoning talent by offering an opportunity to students/recent graduates to present digital puppetry work created ‘at home’ during lockdown. In collaboration puppetry schools: Central School of Speech and Drama, Canterbury, Nottingham and Kent Universities we selected the most promising puppetry, from international students and home-grown talent. The finalists are mentored by the judges in creating their final work to present live or digitally to audiences free at the festival. We rely on the support of a number of volunteers for the smooth running of the festival. Previously we have had 50 volunteers and we are always recruiting more. Through our relationships with local schools we are happy to provide work experience to year 12 students who are interested in pursuing a career in the arts. With our ever increasing relationships this should encourage more visitors into TW and boost the economy.
About the space
Royal Tunbridge Wells is a town in West Kent, 30 miles from London on the East Sussex border. The Pantiles, Calverley Grounds and the Millennium Clock outside the Royal Victoria Place shopping centre are all local landmarks and festival sites for the free performances.
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council
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