Fundraising campaign launched for Norwich Puppet Theatre’s Christmas show

PUBLISHED: 08:56 17 September 2014 | UPDATED: 08:56 17 September 2014

Puppet master - Gavin Glover, designer & director of Beauty and the Beast. Photo: Bill Smith

Puppet master - Gavin Glover, designer & director of Beauty and the Beast. Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2014

Norwich Puppet Theatre is on the cusp of celebrating its 35th year and has launched a fundraising appeal to help it start its landmark anniversary in style.

It hopes to make its Christmas show Beauty and the Beast its most ambitious yet, and is asking people to support the production by donating funds via a campaign on crowdfunding website Kickstarter.

The theatre hopes to raise £2,000, which will be used to create bespoke puppets for the show and also bring back into action a marionette bridge which was created by the theatre’s founders Ray and Joan DaSilva in 1979.

Joy Haynes, director of the theatre, said supporters of the campaign would be helping to create a really unique show that was also incorporating some of the theatre’s heritage.

She said: “For our 35th year we want to create a spectacular show which is unique to our theatre. We’re one of only three venues in the UK with a permanent marionette bridge for long string puppets and we need your help to make Beauty and the Beast the first show to use it in over 20 years.”

The bridge allows puppeteers to remain hidden while operating string puppets but has gone unused for many years due to financial constraints and the cost of producing long string puppets.

People can donate anything from £5 to £150 to the campaign and in return will receive rewards ranging from a signed programme to a private puppeteering lesson with one of the Beauty and the Beast cast.

The new Beauty and the Beast production is set to be told with a twist and will incorporate a mix of old and new puppetry techniques.

Gavin Glover, the designer and director for Beauty and the Beast, said: “We have taken the original story and set it in 1920s and 1930s Hollywood, and we have turned some of the roles around. Without giving too much away, who you expect to be a beast might end up being beautiful and vice versa.”

• For more information about the fundraising campaign - which closes at midnight on October 10 - visit

• Do you have a Norwich arts story? Email arts correspondent Emma Knights at

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