Tag Archives: Punch and Judy Show

Punch and Judy in Durham

Punch and Judy Shows in County Durham

Punch and Judy

Punch and Judy (Photo credit: ronwooduk)

The very first Punch and Judy Show I ever performed was at a birthday party taking place the Dolphin Centre in Darlington. That was a long time ago and I do remember being very nervous. If I am honest the performance probably wasn’t brilliant but the children at the party seemed to love it anyway.

Over the years Mr Punch and I have performed at all kinds of events throughout County Durham and still do. I am glad to report that the Punch and Judy Show is as popular with the wonderful people of Durham as anywhere else in the country.

One of my favorite places to perform is Beamish Museum. I am very lucky to be invited to perform there at various events throughout the year. If you are reading this and you haven’t been then you really must make the effort. It is a fascinating place and it just gets better and better as they continue to improve or add to all the amazing attractions they have there.

My eldest daughter Natasha and several of my close friends studied at Durham University ( Natasha is a Hatfielder ). Therefore Durham City is a special place to my family. We all love Durham with its fabulous cathedral and lovely streets, buildings and river side walks. The world famous Durham University dominates the city centre and in term time it is packed with students. There are many student balls and events run by the entertainment committees of the many colleges throughout the year and from time to time they too book a Punch and Judy Show.  One of the most memorable occasions for me was performing Punch and Judy in the courtyard of Castle College for their annual summer ball. Great fun.

Over course of my career as a Punch and Judy Man  I have been involved in Council and Corporate Events in places like Bishop Auckland, Sunderland, Consett, Sedgefield, Spennymoor,  Hartlepool, Darlington, Newton Aycliffe and Barnard Castle with clients such as Glaxo Smith Klyne, 3M, Nissan, Caterpillar, NSK Bearings UK, The Sunderland Air Show, The Durham Miners Gala, The Tall Ships Race and many, many more local and community events. Although I live in Richmond, North Yorkshire, County Durham is on my door step and I probably spend more time in Durham than I do  in Yorkshire.

To find out more about my Punch and Judy Show visit my Punch and Judy Web Page on the Jolly Good Productions web site.

 

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Yorkshire Punch And Judy Man

Keeping The Tradition Alive

It’s true. The traditional Punch and Judy Show  is making a come back but you won’t often see Mr Punch and his friends down on the beach so it’s no good heading off to Redcar, Whitby, Scarborough or Bridlington to see him. The chances are he won’t be there.

It’s funny how good ideas catch on. In recent years “Seaside Events” have become popular in Yorkshire. I’m not sure who started it off but there are now annual seaside days taking place in  town centres and market squares throughout North Yorkshire and West Yorkshire too.  Even enterprising showmen have got in on the act realising the appeal a seaside day can have to families looking for a fun day out hence the local fair has now  become “Barnsley by the Sea” etc.Yorkshire Punch and Judy Man

The essential ingredients for a fantastic seaside day are sand, buckets and spades, a Punch and Judy Show, ice cream and donkey rides. I’ll not mention sunshine!

This is all good news if you are a Yorkshire based Punch and Judy Man ( which of course I am ). I live in beautiful Richmond North Yorkshire  and as far as I know I am the first and only professional Punch and Judy Man the town has ever had.  Richmond was a very prosperous place in Georgian times and boasts a delightful Georgian, cobbled market square, a fabulous castle,  a pretty waterfall and much more. It’s a very interesting place to live with lots of history. I love it and I am sure Mr Punch feels very comfortable here too as he is as historical as he is hysterical having arrived in England from Italy in the mid seventeenth century.

I have always been very interested in history and I have always thought it’s important to keep old traditions alive which are two reasons why I love Punch and Judy so much.  I’m also very proud to be a Yorkshire man. I was born in the seaside town of Redcar ( then in North Yorkshire ) and as a commissioned officer in the Yorkshire Volunteers ( a Territorial Army Infantry Regiment ) had the privilege of being married to my wife Hazel in York Minster.

Over the many years I have been fortunate enough to be Mr Punch’s travelling companion and have performed my Punch and Judy Show  throughout Yorkshire including Richmond, Bedale, Northallerton, Thirsk, Ripon, Harrogate and York which are all within an hour of my home. I am used to travelling further field and have also performed at events in Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield, Halifax, Wakefield, Barnsley, Sheffield, Doncaster and many, many more places in between.

I have to be honest. Travelling around Yorkshire with Punch and Judy has never been a problem to me. First of all I am proud to be a Yorkshire man and second, I’m on a mission….Keeping The Tradition Alive!

If you are looking for a Punch and Judy Show for your event call me now for a FREE quotation. Just fill in the  ENQUIRY FORM which will give me all the information I need to get back to you with a price. Thank you.

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Victorian Punch and Judy Show

Entertainment For A Victorian Themed Event

Victorian Punch and Judy Show

Victorian Punch and Judy Show

Victorian themed events are popular with the public. It is a chance for people to step back into the past and get a taste of what life might have been like during the reign of Queen Victoria.  It’s something different and is likely to arouse the curiosity of the general public who are therefore more likely to come along to see what its all about.

For the organisers its not too difficult to find street entertainers to hire for Victorian events as most professional acts are likely to have suitable costumes. Stilt walkers, jugglers, fire breathers and escapologists are often called on for this type of work.

The Victorians loved Punch and Judy and although many people think that the Punch and Judy Show was a Victorian invention it had been around since the mid seventeenth century. Punch and Judy Shows were performed at country fairs, markets, festivals and on the streets long before seaside holidays were ever thought of.

Mr Punch was well known to the Victorians and when the railways carried Victorian holiday makers to the seaside Punch and Judy went there too and became an essential feature of every families seaside holiday experience.

Future generations automatically linked Punch and Judy with the seaside and Mr Punch became the most famous entertainer of all time providing fun and laughter to generations of children and adults.

To hire an authentic Punch and Judy Show for your Victorian or Dickensian event in Yorkshire, County Durham or Northumberland call us now for a FREE quotation.

Please  use our ENQUIRY FORM to ensure we have ll the information we need.

Alternatively contact us by telephone on 01748 821621.

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Good Old Fashioned Fun!

Kids love Punch and Judy

Summer is coming and organizers are booking up entertainment for their shows and galas. It’s always a problem

Punch and Judy Show

Punch and Judy Show (Photo credit: ronwooduk)

deciding what to put on for the kids. It’s usually a committee decision and there is always a view that we need to ring the changes. We a magician last yearso how about a clown this time etc etc.

 

The fact is that kids are more than happy to sit and watch the same shows over and over again if they like it. They are often disappointed if they turn up and the entertainer they loved so much at the last event isn’t their this time. If it works, stick with it.

 

The one show that never fails to please is of course Punch and Judy. It has been around a very long time. In fact Punch and Judy Shows have been entertaining the crowds at fairs, festivals and public gatherings since 1662. Yes, Punch and Judy has been around for over 350 years and the reason it is still going strong today is because children love it and so do many adults.

Punch and Judy is an outdoor show so there is no problem about setting up on a field although if you are planning to use a car park or paved area you might need to make provision for anchoring the puppet heatre down ( wind can be a problem ).

Punch and Judy is a fantastic choice and can be enhanced with other activities and entertainment between shows. For more information go to  Punch and Judy.

 

 

 

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Punch Fan Finds Fun Come Rain Or Sun!

Heavy rain kept the crowds away from most events at the start of the Bank Holiday weekend. This young lady would not be put off. She was determined to see the Punch and Judy even if it was pouring down. The show went ahead and a small crowd gathered to join in the fun. Who needs sunshine anyway?

Girl waiting for Punch and Judy

Waiting for Mr Punch

Follow this link for  more information about our Punch and Judy Show

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Punch and Judy | A Short History

The History of the Punch and Judy Show

The first Punch and Judy Shows

During the seventeenth century marionettes were very popular. Italian showmen came to England to perform their shows which were miniature versions of the full scale operas that were being performed in theatres and were  all the rage in fashionable society. The puppet shows were enjoyed by the lower classes as they were cheap to watch and available to all. The first Punch and Judy Shows were performed in 1662 in Covent Garden, London. Samuel Pepys wrote about them in his famous diary. These early shows were probably quite different to the ones we are familiar with today. There were however some similarities. The casts of the shows consisted of a series of stock characters one of whom was a fool called Punchinello ( later to become known as Punch ). This comic character was well liked and would appear in most plays. He was dressed in all white and was a kind of trickster.

Punch becomes a glove puppet

By the eighteenth century marionettes had gone out of fashion and English showmen were using glove puppets. They retained Punchinello in the cast but changed his name to Punch probaly because it was easier to say. They also abandoned the original white costume if favour of the red tunic of the English Jester. Thus Punch as we know him today was born.

Punch and Judy puppets at a Georgian festival

Punch and Judy glove puppets

Material for the shows performed by the early showmen came from varying sources. Some were taken from well known myths and legends such as  St George and the dragon. Some were based on historical stories going back to Greek and Roman times. Others were based on the works of Shakespeare or Comedia Del Arte. Punch could make an appearance in any of them !

Punch goes to the seaside

By the nineteenth century Punch had become so popular he was  the main character of the show and the the storyline was resembling the kind of format we know today. Punch and Judy could be seen on street corners, village greens and fairs around the country. The showmen would travel from place to place carrying their equipment on a barrow which they would push by hand. They made their living by collecting money from the crowd and usually they had an assistant called a “bottler “ whose job it was to gather an audience and ask for money before, during and after each performance.
The shows were watched mainly by adults and could be quite bawdy and anarchic.

The industrial revolution changed the face of Britain. Factories were built and people flocked to the towns and cities to find work.  The population expanded and England became the power house of the British Empire. With this new found prosperity and the arrival of the steam engine came seaside holidays. Wealthy victorian families and the working classes all wanted to go to the seaside to escape from the dirty, crowded cities in search of fresh air and fun. Of course Mr Punch was waiting to greet them ! The Punch and Judy Showbecame an essential ingredient of any seaside holiday together with donkey rides and ice cream. Every seaside resort would have at least one resident Punch “ professor “ and sometimes several performing shows on the beach throughout the summer season. Wealthy families returning home also started to hire Punch and Judy Shows for children’s parties which would be held in the drawing room of their large houses.

Punch remained at the seaside entertaining generations of children until the advent of cheap package holidays to Spain in the 1970’s took away his livelihood. With drastically falling numbers it was no longer viable to make a living at the seaside.

Punch and Judy today

Today most Punch professors perform at children’s parties working for a fee. Punch can also be seen at Council and Corporate Events, Fetes and Galas. Punch is seen as primarily children’s entertainment but it was not always so. Even in its present form the show is appreciated and enjoyed by adults. Some older people find the show nostalgic and it reminds them of their childhood and seaside holidays.

Keeping the tradition alive

The Punch and Judy Show is a wonderful tradition with a long and interesting history. A good show performed well to an appreciative audience is a delight to behold. Punch is part of English folklore and even today is still fantastic entertainment !

Hire a Punch and Judy Show

For information about hiring a Punch and Judy show for an event or party go to our Punch and Judy page.

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Measuring Job Satisfaction

Job satisfaction is achieved when you feel good about something you have done. It is an intangible thing which can’t easily measured.

Children watch a Punch and Judy Show

Job satisfaction measured in smiles!

You can’t produce statistics about job satisfaction! I have always believed that being happy at work is incredibly important. I am very lucky because I really do enjoy my job. Working with children is great because they nearly always want to join in and have fun.

I was talking to a lady, just the other day, after performing a Punch and Judy Show and she kept telling me how much the kids enjoyed it. “You should have seen their faces” she told me repeatedly.

For me job satisfaction is dependent on how much the audience enjoy my shows. The more they enjoy it, the happier I am. This photo illustrates the point. I suppose I could try and measure it in smiles per minute?

How do you measure job satisfaction in your line of work?  Make a comment below to let me know.

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British Legion Day, Stockton, June 2011

90th Anniversary Celebration

Crowd waiting for Punch and Judy

Crowd waiting for Punch and Judy Show

The British Legion Stockton-Yarm District 90th anniversay celebrations took place in Ropner Park, Hartburn Lane, Stockton on Tees on Sunday 12th June. The event was very well attended by the general public. The Mayor of Stockton was in attendance as were many other councillors and VIP guests. The event was organised by Stockton Council Events Team.

Proud History

The Stockton on Tees Branch was formed in 1921 and was one of the first to take up the mantel of welfare service and have been helping ex-service men and women and their families ever since.

Event Entertainment

There was entertainment throughout the day including military parades, a Drumhead service, live music in the bandstand, historical vehicles, craft activities, falconry display, Punch and Judy British Legion Bikers, inflatables and kiddies rides.

Fortunately the weather was fair until 3pm when the rain came and many people left for home. The event had however been a great success.

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Punch And Judy Kissing Is No Laughing Matter

Mr Punch is no romantic that’s for sure. He’s pretty direct when it comes to his dealings with his wife Judy. When he wants a peck on the cheek he says “kissy kissy kissy”. Listen to the laughter from the children during my Punch and Judy Show as Mr Punch tries to be affectionate.
There are so many funny scenes like this in Punch and Judy. No wonder the show is as popular today with children and adults. It’s just so much fun. I hope you enjoy this short film clip.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTTPOp5IAZ8]

To see more of my show or to enquire about booking me go to my Punch and Judy page.

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Monkwearmouth Museum Gets Thumbs Up From Mr Punch

Mr Punch and his entourage visited Monkwearmouth Museum in Sunderland yesterday and performed four shows to appreciative audiences of children and adults.

Mr Punch enjoyed his visit as it reminded him of the days when people used to flock to the English seaside for day trips and vacations. The museum is housed in a former railway station. The building itself is very grand as was the style in the victorian era when it was conceived. There are many exhibits to show what life was like in the area in years gone by. There is even a fully restored ticket office to show what the station would have been like in Edwardian times.

The museum is designed to be child friendly and there are various interactive displays and a playroom too.

In addition to the Punch and Judy Show there was also face painting by Katrina Wood. This was very popular and there was a queue all afternoon. There were lots of oohs and aahs at the stunning faces Katrina painted and quite a few parents enquiring about Katrina’s availability for face painting at  parties in the Sunderland / Newcastle area. This is no problem as Katrina is based in Newcastle Upon Tyne.

Mr Punch’s verdict : The museum is interesting, educational and fun with friendly and helpful staff. Definitely worth a visit.

Monkwearmouth Museum

Monkweamouth Museum

Punch and Edwardian printing machine

Punch and the printing machine

Monkwearmouth Museum Sign

Monkwearmouth Museum sign at entrance

Monkwearmouth Museum Edwardian Railway Station Ticket Office

Edwardian Railway Station Ticket Office

Monkwearmouth Museum Edwardian Railway Station Ticket office

Edwardian Ticket Office

If you were at the Museum and met Jolly Good Productions, saw the Punch and Judy Show, had your kids faces painted please feel free to leave a comment. What do you think of the museum? We’d love to hear your views and feedback.

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