CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Puppeteers wow crowds at Covent Garden Punch and Judy celebration

Fans mark 355th birthday of famous children's show at annual festival

26 May, 2017 — By Sabrina Dougall

Punch “professors” at St Paul’s Church in Bedford Street 

MR Punch the puppet delighted families at a special birthday show at the Covent Garden May Fayre and Puppet Festival.

Maypole dancing, puppet workshops, stalls and refreshments brought smiles all round as visitors to St Paul’s Church in Bedford Street joined to celebrate infamous Mr Punch’s 355th birthday.

The free annual event saw a grand brass band procession in the morning and a special church service at midday in “The Actors’ church”, with Mr Punch in the pulpit.

A birthday toast was raised to the Neapolitan-inspired Mr Punch by a commemorative plaque on the church wall in the piazza.

Puppeteers put on Punch and Judy shows throughout the afternoon in the sunshine of St Paul’s Church garden, near where the diarist Samuel Pepys first saw Mr Punch in May 1662.

Visitors enjoyed music by the Lost Marbles String Band. Children attended puppetry workshops with representatives from the British Puppet and Model Theatre Guild, the Puppet Centre Trust and the College of Punch and Judy Professors.

Co-ordinator Maggie Pinhorn said: “We were lucky with the weather and the day was a glorious celebration of a unique piece of local history.”

Funds raised from refreshments provided by the Food Chain went to provide nutritional support for people living with HIV in London.

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