The full scope of the project ran from the street, beach and village hall to schools, museums and universities. The message that the Punch and Judy tradition is alive and well and thriving in the 21st C ran through it all like the lettering in a stick of rock

Here are the full listings for the record.

See the gallery page for the unfolding trail of Mr. Punch’s Big Year

Wed May 9th

Little Angel Theatre, London

The Raspberry Reception

The Home of British Puppetry celebrates the British National Puppet exactly 350 years to the day from Samuel Pepys significant diary entry of 1662. A very special evening event featuring entertainment from Punchmen Brian Patterson (USA) and Keith Preston (Australia) flying in especially for the birthday and joining UK veteran ‘Prof’ John Styles M.B.E. Each will present Punch & Judy in their own inimitable fashion. And what would Pepys make of it all? Hopefully he’d still be “mightily pleased” at seeing the show. (Please note: very limited availability for this event due to demand and space restrictions.)

Thur May 10th

Little Angel Theatre, London

Ito Shiro and Katami Eimei

Two masters of Japanese ‘Kugutsu’ puppetry making their visit to Mr. Punch’s birthday events present an evening of three short plays including ‘Snow White’ and a Japanese-style ‘Punch & Judy’. One of the earliest forms of hand puppetry ‘Kugutsu’ was first seen on the street corners of Kyoto in the 7th century, the puppeteers - or ‘kugutsu-shi’ - performing from a waist-high box suspended from their necks by a cord.



Right on the very spot where it all started. Click on the Big Birthday Party link for details



Now once more including the special service for Mr. Punch in St. Paul’s, Covent Garden: the Actors Church. Click on the Big Birthday Party link for details

Mon May 14th

Subversive Symposium

@ Central School of Speech & Drama @ 6.30pm – 8.30pm.

 Mr.Punch is 350 years old and celebrations are being held over the weekend 12th/13th May under the banner The Big Grin. The Subversive Symposium on 14th May continues the celebration by giving a platform to four speakers who between them will plunder history, give a nod to tradition, rant about contemporary subversives and shout out for the future. Post Traditional Puppetry is a growing area of academic discourse and this evening’s event, hosted by CROPP, will certainly not pull the punches!

Sat May 19

Newtownards, N. Ireland.

A Punch’s birthday bonanza at the Web Theatre featuring three top ‘Professors’ plus a host of activities and a chance to go backstage and see how its all done.

Sat May 26 & Sun May 27

The Big Grin Brighton Beachfront Birthday

Brighton Fishing Museum will host a birthday party for Mr. Punch during the Brighton Fringe Festival with puppet shows, activities and seafront fun for all the family on the site where he has entertained since the early 1800s. The red nosed rascal will be showing off his family album, cutting some comic capers himself and opening a new permanent seaside display in the Fishing Museum.  (Part of the Cultural Olympiad Inspire programme).

Sun May 27

Norwich Puppet Theatre’s Picnic With Mr Punch.

Have a ‘Picnic with Mr. Punch’ either in the morning or the afternoon (and as no Picnic With Mr Punch would be complete without SAUSAGES there’s a sausage in a bap  - or a veggie sausage -  included in the price of this ticketed event.) Hand to Mouth Theatre will be performing their fun, musical version of Punch & Judy in the old-fashioned seaside style as well as presenting Piggery Jokery: an original creation which appears to be a missing link between Medieval Mumming and Punch and Judy. Plus the opportunity to make a glove puppet at the drop-in workshop stall.

For full details of the day or booking and enquiries: tel: 01603 629921

Mon May 28

Norwich Puppet Theatre’s Punch & Judy masterclass with Martin Bridle

Hand To Mouth Theatre’s Martin Bridle shares a top Prof’s skills.

Limited places. Early booking advised. Costs and details: tel: 01603 629921

May - December

V&A Museum of Childhood, London.

Happy Birthday Mr. Punch!

May - July the Museum will organise an educational programme of high quality, historically accurate, fun and interactive experiences encouraging children and families to learn together about the heritage of Punch & Judy and other folk puppet traditions.

June - October the Museum will mount a Punch & Judy display including classic Punch & Judy booth and complete set of puppets used by ‘Professor’ Gus Wood (1912 – 1962) and an elaborate 18th century Italian marionette theatre. Plus new material from private collections and selected items from the George Speaight archive, recently acquired by the V&A and not previously seen in public.


Playful Puppets

Monday 4 – Friday 8 June, 11.00-16.00

Listen to a story of how The Glove Puppet Man helps everyone solve their

problems. Make a Punch and Judy puppet. Complete our Playful Puppet trail for

a chance to win a Goody Bag.

Drop-in All ages

Happy Birthday Mr. Punch

Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 June

11.30; 13.00; 14.15; 15.00

Roll up, roll up! Enjoy traditional, slapstick Punch and Judy puppet shows. Come

and meet Mr. Punch, England’s oldest and most famous puppet character who

celebrates his 350th birthday in 2012. See his wife, Judy, the baby, Joey theClown and a mischievous crocodile too. Drop-in Age 4+

Puppet Festival Fridays

Fridays 10, 17, 24, 31 August, 12.00–16.00

Can’t get away to the seaside? Then come along to the Museum for our waterfree,

pseudo-seaside experience. Enjoy free outdoor puppet shows. Play in sand

boxes. Make puppets in our drop in Art Smarts area. Take a photo in front of our

funny seaside backdrop. Paint a T-shirt using a puppet template, or make a

creative design of your own (cost £5 per t-shirt or free if you bring your own).

Drop-in All ages

Puppet Making Fun

Fridays 10, 17, 24, 31 August, 10.00–12.30, 14.00–16.30

This is a fantastic opportunity to work with a specialist puppet maker from The

Little Angel Theatre to create your own puppet to keep. Practice simple

manipulation techniques to enable you to bring your character to life.

£5 per child. Bookings taken 14 days in advance before each workshop

Age 5-11

During this time the Museum will also offer:

Exploring Punch & Judy: a Museum tour activity for schools and families , led by the Museum’s team of Activity Assistants, introducing the history of Punch & Judy and followed by a short performance and a chance for visitors to touch and explore replica puppets. (Offered to families at weekends and during school holidays, and to schools on weekdays during term-time as one of the Museum’s  Spotlight Tours for classes from Reception to Key Stage 2.)

Punch Professors in England (photographic exhibition).

July 14 - December 9th

An exhibition of photographs by Tom Hunter of contemporary Punch practitioners.

May - September

As Pleased as Punch in Worthing

Worthing Museum & Art Gallery brings costumes, puppets and paintings from its own collections to join the “Oh We Do Like To Beside the Seaside” touring Punch & Judy exhibition celebrating a 350 year career of merrymaking. Plus a programme of family activities, sessions for schools and public performances. (Part of the Cultural Olympiad Inspire programme).

Sat July 7 & Sun July 8

The Big Grin in Morecambe

A weekend of jollity with tip-top shows on the Prom and in the park and a display of Punch and Judy artwork by Morecambe schoolchildren. Plus Mr. Punch’s Big Birthday Card and his string of 350 sausages.

Sat July 21

The Big Grin in Aberystwyth

Featuring a ‘Mr. Punch in Wales’ display introducing the museum’s own display of the Bill Dane puppet collection. Plus performances, family activities, backstage tours and a visit from Mr. Punch’s Big Birthday Card and sausages.

Sat July 21 - Fri Sept 28

Rustington Museum’s Little Big Grin

An exhibition at Rustington Museum celebrating 350 years of Mr. Punch in association with the HLF-funded Big Grin project. Featuring a display of Punch and Judy, Pulcinella and mamulengo puppets. objects. Summer holiday children’s workshops with puppet-making and other activities plus Punch and Judy education activity packs for families to take away. See Rustington Museum website for details.

Sun July 22 - Sun July 29

Punch’s Devon and Cornwall International Big Grin Gathering

Featuring specially invited guests of Professor Dan Bishop of Tavistock: including Prof Goodvibes of Cornwall, Paolo Rech with traditional Harlequin from Northern Italy and a visit from irrepressible Tchantches - puppet hero from Liege. Full programme includes performances in Falmouth (Sun 22nd), Tavistock (Wed 25th, Thur 26th, Sat 28th), Port Isaac (Fri 27th) and Bude (Sunday 29th). A week of fun and frivolity in which Mr. Punch celebrates with some of his rowdy relatives from overseas. Plus an exhibition of Punch & Judy ephemera at Tavistock Museum 11.00 - 15.00 daily til the end of October.

For times and locations contact:

Falmouth  Tel: 01326 980

Tavistock Tel: 01822 611

Port Isaac Tel 01208 851723

Bude Tel 01288 357302.   

Tue July 24 to Sat 28

Funny Wonders Big Grin in Buxton

As part of the Buxton Puppet Festival local company Funny Wonders is hosting a series of Big Grin events.

As Pleased As Punch (Tue July 24 to Sat July 28) A display at Buxton Museum & Art Gallery including an introduction to celebrated local Victorian performer Henry Bailey: the first Punch Prof to have his show captured on film.

That’s The Way To Do It” puppet-making workshop

Thursday 26th July, 10am-12pm at St John’s Church.

Come and make some Punch & Judy glove puppets and have a go at performing. Please contact the Buxton Opera House Box Office for tickets.

Buxton Virtuoso: Henry Bailey -  a star of stage and streetlamp.

A talk about Henry Bailey, his family and Buxton, given by Punch & Judy Professor and historian Geoff Felix. (Thur July 26. 7pm - 8.30pm. Free event. Buxton Museum & Art Gallery)

Buxton Town Heritage Trail

A DIY fun trail taking you around sites of interest regarding Henry Bailey, his family and Punch & Judy in Buxton. Collect your trail guide from Buxton Museum & Art Gallery

Big Grin Roadshow

Fri July 27

‘Prof’ Geoff Felix will perform Punch & Judy outside the Buxton Opera House at 11am and 3pm and the Roadshow stall will be situated outside the Pavilion Gardens on the promenade. Sign Mr Punch’s 350th Big Birthday Card and see the giant string of sausages.

CONTACTS: Buxton Museum website  Buxton Opera House website

Tue July 24 to Sun Aug 26

The Big Grin in Bromley

A month-long display of material in Ripley Arts Centre in Bromley, Kent, celebrating the long career of Mr. Punch. Weekdays 9am to 4pm. Other times by appointment. Plus a Punch & Judy performance at the annual Garden Party in the grounds on Sat Aug 25th. All enquiries: 020 8464 5816.

Thur July 26 - Sun 29

A Big Grin Pop-up at WOMAD

It's 30 years of WOMAD festivals and 350 Years of Mr Punch.

Professor Theo C. Cupier's Punch and Judy will be at WOMAD celebrating both birthdays.

So if you’re going to WOMAD why not pop along to the Punch & Judy?

Location: Charlton Park, Malmesbury, Wiltshire, UK

Fri July 27 - Sun 29

6th Lincoln Punch & Judy Fair

Lincoln celebrates Mr Punch's 350th Birthday with 'Mr Punch and Friends'. Performances will  take place  on Friday 27th July  and Saturday 28th July  in and around the City Centre from 10.30am to 4pm. Special performance on Sunday at Lincoln Castle and on Castle Hill from 11 am until 4 pm.

Programme includes UK ‘Professors’ Martin Bridle, Rod Burnett, Clive Chandler, Dan Slater, Jon Thursby, Paul Wheeler, Chippy Wood and Joseph Peek. Plus Jose Gil from Portugal, Andras Lenart from Hungary, Irene Vecchia from Italy and Marc Beuten from Belgium.  Also appearing are Walking Tall’s Giant Dancing Mr. Punch, Judy and the Baby.

Sun July 29

Pulcinella in Glasgow

As part of Big Grin birthday celebrations for Mr Punch at the Scottish Mask and Puppet Centre, puppeteer Irene Vecchia will perform a traditional Pulcinella show direct from the streets of Naples. Fast and furious and funny. 3pm and 7pm. Scottish Mask and Puppet Centre, 8-10 Balcarres Avenue, Kelvindale, Glasgow, G12 0QF. Box Office: 0141 339 6185

Sun July 29

Museum of Cannock Chase Family Fun Day

World travelled ‘Professor’ Rod Burnett will be putting Mr. Punch though his paces for the Big Grin at this free event alongside family fun day specialities from face painting to willow weaving. Plus drop-in arts activities and the museum’s own interactive Toys and games gallery.

Tel: 01543 877666

The Museum of Cannock Chase, Valley Road, Hednesford, Staffordshire, WS12 1TD 

Tue July 31

Lacock Abbey, Wilts.

Mr Punch's Picnic

'That's the way to do it!' Mr Punch is 350 years old this year. Come and see him in his usual antics with Judy and the crocodile as performed by Professor Pete Milsom. Shows at 11.15, 12.30 and 1.30 Make something to take home with Wiltshire Scrapstore and have a bounce on the inflatable castle too. 

More Information: Visitor Reception, 01249 730459


Fri Aug 3 to Sun Aug 5

Southend Pier Puppet Festival.

Southend Pier - the worlds longest pleasure pier -  hosts its 24th Annual Puppet Festival from 11am-5pm each day. At over 100 years old, this famous landmark stretches out 1 1/3 miles into the Thames Estuary. Bring the family, walk or take the train to the end of the pier and make a day of it. Bring a picnic or eat in the new Cultural Centre Cafe and let Punch and Judy, marionettes and glove puppets put on a show for both kids and adults who want to re-live their childhood. (Pier admission charges apply) 01702 618747

Sat Aug 4 & Sun Aug 5

The Weymouth Big Grin Maritime Mix

A two-day event celebrating Mr. Punch in the South West and held on the Weymouth beach pitch famed for generations. A children’s puppet parade along the prom  - led by a brass band  - will feature a Victorian puppet stage recreated by Weymouth’s own ‘Professor’ Mark Poulton. Joining him will be other top performers ready for a weekend of non-stop puppet nonsense plus backstage tours, Mr. Punch’s Birthday Card signing, a book signing by Judith Stinton (The Way To Do It: Frank Edmonds, Punch & Judy Man), a Mr. Punch sand sculpt by famous Weymouth sand artist Mark Anderson, an illuminated evening performance, plus ‘An Audience with Punch & Judy’ at Weymouth Pavilion. Part of the Cultural Olympiad Maritime Mix programme supporting the Olympic Sailing events in Weymouth & Portland.

Wed Aug 15th to Sat Aug 18th

Big Grin Daventry Bonus

As part of the Big Grin Fringe Mr. Punch’s Giant Birthday Card and string of 350 sausages will be in Daventry Town Centre along with a display about Old Red Nose’s long career.

Thur Aug 16th and Fri Aug 17th

An Audience with Punch and Judy

Hove Museum & Art Gallery, W. Sussex. 10.30am-11.30am – 12.30pm-1.30pm Free, drop in. All ages.

Discover the story behind Mr Punch’s 350 year mischief-making career. Experience a traditional show supported by an accompanying talk about the history of Britain’s favourite seaside entertainment.

Telephone 03000 290900
Fax +44 (0) 1273 292827

Sun 9th Sept

Punch & Judy’s Midlands Family

Museum of Cannock Chase

Midlands octogenarian Rose “Rosa” Peasley is the UK’s oldest performing ‘Professor’. Her son Derek follows a family tradition set by his late father Eric “Ericko” Peasley. Find out more at this special heritage open day, see a show and browse the museum’s fascinating interactive Toys and games gallery.

Tel: 01543 877666

The Museum of Cannock Chase, Valley Road, Hednesford, Staffordshire, WS12 1TD 

Sat 15th & Sun 16th Sept


Scottish Mask & Puppet Centre

Free shows, demos, tours and exhibition.
Prof. Robert Styles Punch and Judy show 1.00/ 2.00/ 3.00pm (80 seats 3+ yrs)
Tel:0141 339 6185

March 1st and 2nd 2013


Big Grin Symposium: International Perspectives on Puppets, Popular Culture and Heritage

Centre for Creative Collaboration, Acton Street, London WC1X 9NG

Organised by Professor Matthew Isaac Cohen (Royal Holloway, University of London) and Cariad Astles (Royal Central School of Speech and Drama)

This two-day academic symposium examines the legacy of the festivals, exhibitions and documentary projects of the Big Grin, in order to interrogate and debate its work and import and to situate current efforts to revitalise and re-interpret Punch and Judy as national cultural heritage in relation to wider popular puppetry heritage (as defined in other cultural settings and societies).

The symposium, co-sponsored by the UNIMA Research Commission, The Centre for International Theatre and Performance Research at Royal Holloway, University of London and The Centre for Research into Objects and Puppets in Performance at the Central School of Speech and Drama, will include four paper panels, with keynote speeches and film showings, including the premiere of a newly subtitled Portuguese cinematic masterpiece, Dom Roberto (a.k.a. The Puppeteer, 1962), directed by Ernesto de Sousa. Invited speakers (to be confirmed) include Kathy Foley (USA), Ida Hledikova (Slovakia) and John McCormick (Ireland).