Quirky characters put on show ahead of charity auction date

Norwich Puppet Theatre celebrity puppet auction. Ian Woods and Michelle Sewell from the theatre with

Norwich Puppet Theatre celebrity puppet auction. Ian Woods and Michelle Sewell from the theatre with the puppets which are on display at Mandell's Gallery, Elm Hill.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

An eclectic mix of quirky characters are currently on show ahead of going under the hammer at auction to raise funds for Norwich Puppet Theatre.

The colourful glove puppets have been created by a mix of famous faces and artists to celebrate the theatre's 35th anniversary, and they can all be seen at Mandell's Gallery, in Elm Hill, until next Tuesday.

There are more than 60 puppets, and their creators include everyone from rugby players Ben and Tom Youngs to actor John Hurt to TV chef Rick Stein to the Rt Rev Graham James, the Bishop of Norwich.

Others who have sent in puppets for the auction next week include Michael Rosen, Maureen Lipman, Tom Conti, Toyah Wilcox, Geoffrey Palmer, Colin Self and Jenny Eclair.

Joy Haynes, Norwich Puppet Theatre director said 'We're so thrilled to have such amazing, wacky and interesting designs from such incredible talents. We hope people can take home a little bit of the magic that we at the Puppet Theatre have experienced everyday for the past 35 years.'

The Celebrity Puppet Auction at Norwich Puppet Theatre next Wednesday will be compered by BBC Look East presenter Stewart White and the auctioneer will be Elizabeth Talbot of TW Gaze.

The event follows on from a previous auction of celebrity puppets five years ago that raised £7,200 for the venue.

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The money raised from this month's auction will help fund the development of new shows, the theatre's work with schools and outreach projects, and training and support for the next generation of puppeteers.

The exhibition of puppets is at Mandell's Gallery, in Elm Hill, until Tuesday next week. It is open everyday from 10am until 5pm except Sunday.

The Celebrity Puppet Auction is from 6.30pm on Wednesday, November 25 at Norwich Puppet Theatre, in Whitefriars. Tickets £15. To book, visit www.puppettheatre.co.uk or call the box office on 01603 629 921.

People can also bid for puppets via written and telephone bidding - for more details visit www.puppettheatre.co.uk

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Email arts correspondent Emma Knights at emma.knights@archant.co.uk