- Based: Bristol
- Website: www.storyboxtheatre.co.uk
I began working Punch and Judy in the late 1970s.
As a student at Falmouth School of Art I had lodgings with a wonderful artist who performed Punch, Vernon Rose of ‘The Celebrated Theatre of Delights’. The time in his company had a lasting effect on me, and after I finished my degree I made my own show. I had trained as a sculptor so making the puppets and booth was an easy job but I was excited and thrilled by the results. I began to perform and I quickly realised this was the art form I had been looking for as the world of puppetry opened up before me. Although I was a practitioner in sculpture I always wanted to use all the different media available to an artist: painting, acting, music, drama. In puppetry I had found an art form which required many skills, those of a sculptor to make, and a painter to paint, the performer to act and the musician to play the sound. This was my perfect canvas. The show also came with a rich history dating back to Commedia Dell Arte. Understanding its past life and learning to master the swazzle was an unexpected delight.
Punch and Judy was my first exploration into puppetry. My company Storybox Theatre has produced more than twenty performances using many different styles and techniques but this glove puppet show still remains central to my repertoire. In the early years performing at different venues, fetes, fairs, birthday parties, holiday camps and beaches, I learnt the trade. I found ways to move the puppets, pace the drama and work the audience, how to deliver a line, use a pause and how to take applause.
I work happily with these Punch and Judy Professors to maintain professionalism and integrity in a show we have all inherited and which, with its anarchic and ironic humour, is an integral and important part of the society we live in”
I have had the pleasure and the honour of working Mr Punch and the show for more than thirty years. I still perform at events around the UK but am now increasingly invited to perform at festivals around the world where there is a great interest in the show’s shocking black humour and complex history. I have been fortunate to work in the company of all the cousins of Mr. Punch with players of Pulcinella, Dom Roberto, Petrushka, Don Christobel, Vitez Laszlo, Karagoz, Jan Klassen and Polichinelle. These are part of the same tradition as Punch and Judy and it is a wonder to me that this sort of show is to be found all around the world and an honour to be asked to work with them to present Punch to a global audience.
The College - a group of like minded friends who are passionate about the show’s reputation - is important to the future of Punch and Judy. I work happily with these Punch and Judy Professors to maintain professionalism and integrity in a show we have all inherited and which, with its anarchic and ironic humour, is an integral and important part of the society we live in.