Tag Archives: Punch And Judy Man

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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Do You Suffer From Wind?

This may seem a rather rude way to start a conversation. After all suffering from wind is a rather personal matter and when it manifests itself in public it can be embarrassing. As a Punch and Judy Man suffering from wind takes on a whole new meaning. For most people a sudden blast of wind results in a red face and possibly the words ” I’m terribly sorry” or else we blame the poor dog. For me a sudden blast of wind in the middle of a Punch And Judy Show can mean disaster. Now I’ve always fancied learning to fly but I’d rather do it in an aeroplane than in a Punch And Judy Booth. The problem I have is not my age or what I ate for dinner, it’s the size of my ” fit up”. I’m proud to say I’ve got a big one. No, I’m not bragging. It’s a whopper! My Punch And Judy show is a fair size. I like to be seen and I like my audience to be able to see me too. The down size of having a big one is that it acts like a sail and its natural tendency is to want to lift off in anything more than a strong breeze. I’ve never actually got into full flight but I’ve come pretty close to it.

I once nearly blew into the Manchester Ship Canal whilst working at the Imperial War Museum North. We were set up on the quayside and fortunately Hazel was with me. As the day went on the wind grew stronger and although IWM staff had provided big metal weights for us to tie down to we were still straining at the leash to be up up and away. Hazel was hanging onto the frame for grim death behind me and I had one hand in Mr Punch and the other clinging onto the frame at the side a bit like a chimpanzee hanging onto a branch. I got through my last performance by the skin of my teeth and then with Hazel’s help we managed to break down the show before we were picked up and deposited in the icy waters close by. The main stage was not so lucky. We witnessed a most extraordinary sight. The entire structure was lifted off the ground. Now I’m not talking about a tiddly little thing, this was a proper stage where moment before a full swing band had been performing. It had an an aluminium structure with a roof over the top. At the exact moment of lift off Hazel and I were lying spread eagle on Mr Punch’s cover trying to fold it up. I saw men running towards the stage from all directions, eveyone grabbing a hold and hanging on tight. Luckily there were enough people to stabilize it…but only just. It too very nearly ended up in the canal.

Another memorable occassion was on the beach at Saltburn By The Sea in North Yorkshire. When a carried my gear down onto the sands it was a perfectly lovely summers day. Blue sky, warm and sunny. As the day went by and the tide started to come in behind me I noticed the breeze picking up. I realised I needed extra anchorage and so started collecting rocks to use as weights. As the breeze increased in strength the more rocks I needed. I started to wonder wether I should be going on a Dry Stone Walling course. By the time I did my last show it really was a battle with the elements, trying to work the puppets and hang onto the booth in the face of an impending gale with my little Sanger of rocks around me, and the sea coming up fast behind. I’m sure that the audience were taking bets on how far into the North Sea I would be blown. It sure beats wind surfing. Fortunately I avoided being swept away and the audience left perhaps slightly disappointed as a flying Punch and Judy Show is not something you see every day.

My most recent experience of near flight came last August at the Wensleydale Show. In past years they have put me inside a marquee so contending with the elements isn’t a problem. Unfortunately this time due to budget constraints there was no marquee and the person in charge put me on top of the hill. If you have never been to the Wensleydale Show then I strongly recommend it. There is so much to see and do and the view from the top of the hill is splendid. Unfortunately the top of the hill is not a good place to site a Punch And Judy Show when its windy and boy was it windy. Now I like a challenge so when the man told me this was my location the army training kicked in. I was determined to hold my ground at all costs. Although it was a struggle just to set up, I managed it and I used all my ratchet straps and ground anchors to lock myself down. My saving grace was that my fit up has a metal framework and is therefore reasonably strong. The entire afternoon was a massive struggle not only to perform but just to avoid being carried away. I had visions of folk down in Leyburn looking up and saying ” is it a bird? Is it a bee? No…it’s…it’s…it’s a Punch And Judy Show!  Against all the odds I did do my four shows and I did stay on the field. It was a relief to hear that next year they are moving me to somewhere less exposed. Oh joy!

As its winter I’m not suffering from wind at the moment. When summer comes and you are struggling to keep your hat on just think of me. I might be on a beach or on top of a hill somewhere facing a far greater problem. Keep smiling!

Has anything like this ever happened to you? ie tent blowing away on a camping trip, embarrassing moments with clothing in the wind etc. If you have a funny story to tell please share it with me.

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