Punch and Judy come ‘home’ for St George’s Festival
Punch and Judy is returning to its ‘spiritual home’ in more than 20 years for Liverpool’s St George’s Festival.
The Victorian puppet show is to be one of the star attractions of the three day festival later this month (April 24-26), entertaining families in St Johns Garden’s just yards from where it was first performed in Liverpool by St George’s Hall by ‘Professor’ Richard Codman 155 year ago – and last performed there in the mid-90s.
The return of the historic spectacle on Sunday, April 26 is part of a huge schedule of outdoor and indoor activities organised by venues in the city’s St George’s Quarter, as they celebrate the third annual festival with their most ambitious programme to date.
Festival goers will also be treated to the first ‘food and and craft fair’ held in St John’s Gardens, as well a host of free medieval themed activities from shield making workshops in the World Museum to performances by a medieval troupe, also in the gardens.
Gillian Miller, Chief Exec of the Royal Court Trust and Chair of the St George’s Quarter C.I.C, which recently launched a 10 year masterplan to develop the quarter as a family friendly destination, said: ”This year’s St George’s Festival is going to be the biggest and best yet.
”All the venues in the quarter have got something magical going on and such has been the desire to show off the quarter we’ve had to expand the festival to a whole weekend to include all the activities!
”We’re delighted we’ve managed to bring Punch and Judy back to it’s spritual home and I think the entire festival is going to showcase what an amazing asset St John’s Gardens is for the quarter, and for Liverpool city centre.”
‘Professor’ David Wilde, one of the UK’s best Punch & Judy masters who also houses one of its largest collections of puppets and memorabilia, said he was thrilled to be invited to the festival.
David, who has also worked on the heritage of the artform with the Victoria and Albert Museum, added: ”Everyone knows about Professor Codman and the Punch & Judy connections his family have with Liverpool. It’s going to be a real thrill to be walking in their footsteps. Punch & Judy has an amazing heritage in this country and it’s great to be part of a new chapter in Liverpool for this St George’s festival.”
Other festival highlights include back stage tours and dragon inspired story telling at the Playhouse, a knights trail in the Walker Art Gallery to craft activities at Central Library with appearances by a red dragon!
St George’s Hall is hosting several major evening events including a barn dance on the Friday (April 24) and a medieval banquet on the Saturday. The Grade I listed venue will also be marking St George’s Day itself with a screening of Henry V.
Children attending the festival are encouraged to take part in the fancy dress competition with several prizes up for grabs including shows at the Empire Theatre, with the added incentive for mum and dad of two hours free parking in Queen Square Car Park and a free kids meal with every full priced adult meal at La Tasca, Coffee Queen or Nandos.