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The Tunbridge Wells Puppetry Festival returns in October for the 2019 edition

Colourful sheds are set to pop up around a Kent town this weekend in the run-up to its third puppetry festival.

The Tunbridge Wells Puppetry Festival, which will run from Friday, October 11 to Sunday, October 13 with acclaimed puppetry from Spain, Italy and Poland joining the best from the UK to bring a three-day programme of world-class puppetry and live performances.

The Tunbridge Wells Puppetry Festival will return for a third time
The Tunbridge Wells Puppetry Festival will return for a third time

In the lead up to the event the local branch of Kent Sheds has built four fun puppet show booths based on traditional Punch & Judy booths, which will be popping up around the town from this weekend.

Children will be able to create their own puppet shows and families can upload and share their pictures on social media using #twpuppetryfest, with a winning shot winning four tickets to a festival show of their choice on either Saturday, October 12 or Sunday, October 13.

The booths will be around town on Saturdays September 14, 21 and 28 and on Saturday, October 5 and Sunday, October 6, as well as during the festival itself.

Festival founder, Linda Lewis, said: “We wanted to create something a bit different for the festival this year, to get people thinking about puppetry in advance and to have some fun that could be shared on social media, so we thought what better way than to get people creating their own puppetry shows.”

The Men’s Shed movement is a community space for men to connect, converse and create. Team director Tim Tempest said: "When Linda at the puppetry festival approached us to build the booths we were delighted and it’s great to help celebrate this year’s festival doing what we do best – building things!”

Over the festival itself, which was started in 2015,there will be free performances, events and workshops at venues across the town centre, showingmemorable, magical and thought-provoking performances ranging from traditional to experimental and featuring a diverse range of puppetry styles and techniques.

Linda Lewis tries out a puppet booth
Linda Lewis tries out a puppet booth

Visitors will be able to meet the puppeteer who uses only his hands to tell the story of his mother’s life; the feathered friends running the Sweethearts' Tea Shop and a magician with illusions. Mischief and mystery run amok in Moomin Valley, and there's a colourful retelling of Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark as well as giant puppets.

To see the full programme and book tickets, which start at £3, visit twpuppetryfestival.org.

Mischief and Mysteries in Moominvalley
Mischief and Mysteries in Moominvalley

All the outdoor shows and street theatre taking place on The Pantiles and at the Millennium Clock are free. For details of Sherwood Men’s Shed click here.

To find out what’s going on in the county and for all the latest entertainment news click here.

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