2018 round-up and the 12 Plays of Christmas

2018 was a busy interim year for the festival! We commissioned two exciting new community projects – Hall of Dreams, a celebration of Tunbridge Wells’ historic Assembly Hall Theatre, and Shadow Play, a project that brought puppetry to those living with dementia. There’s been singing, dancing, puppet workshops, filmmaking and a lot of fun. If you haven’t already, put your feet up, grab a mince pie and watch the Shadow Play film.

Planning is well underway for the third Tunbridge Wells Puppetry Festival, which will take place 11-13 October 2019, subject to funding. We have lots of new ideas to share and we hope that you’ll want to get involved. Stay tuned!

Thank you for your ongoing support and we look forward to seeing you next year.

Happy Christmas and best wishes for 2019

Linda, Holly, Justine and Sarah
Tunbridge Wells Puppetry Festival team

It’s Christmas! Oh no it isn’t! Oh yes it is! Whether you love this time of year or not, there’s always lots of wonderful theatre to enjoy. If you need some inspiration, we’ve chosen our favourite Twelve Plays of Christmas within reach of Tunbridge Wells.

Tunbridge Wells

Sleeping Beauty at the Assembly Hall Theatre

7 December – 2 January

This starry pantomime is getting lots of love and so it should – it’s fabulous family entertainment. Claire Sweeney is the baddest of witches. Boo, hiss!

Wind in the Willows at the Trinity Theatre

13 December – 2 January

Tunbridge Wells’ small but mighty theatre always puts on a slightly alternative Christmas show and this year it’s Mole, Ratty, Badger and Toad getting the Trinity treatment. We predict a riot!

Brighton & Hove

The Animals & Children Took to the Streets at The Old Market

19 December – 12 January

The amazing 1927 theatre company (Golem, The Magic Flute) present a twisted tale, spinning together performance, animation and live music. 12+.


The Night Tree at the Gulbenkian

11 December – 16 December

A one-hour show for children aged 3+, celebrating winter with songs, dance and dressing the Christmas tree with edible decorations. Meet the dancers afterwards for a stay-and-play session.

Horsted Keynes, East Sussex

A Horsted Christmas

21 December

Steam trains, reindeer, storytelling and a puppet show from the lovely Rust and Stardust gang – all aboard the Bluebell Railway for a nostalgic family day out.


Circus 1903 at Southbank Centre

19 December  – 5 January

A spectacular take on a turn-of-the-century circus, this is Circus 1903’s European premiere. The show features sensational life-sized elephants created by the War Horse puppeteers.

Mr Rabbit meets Brer Santa on the Puppet Barge

15 December – 31 December

The barge is moored at Little Venice for an enchanting family show starring hand-carved marionettes. A very special floating theatre!

Wow! It’s Night Time at Little Angel Theatre

7 December – 27 January

Puppet theatre for littlies aged 2-5, this sweet story of what happened next to Tim Hopgood’s curious little owl is one of the highlights of Little Angel’s festive programme.

The Wider Earth at the Natural History Museum

Now on, extended until 24 February

We’ve seen this and can highly recommend! A clever new play following the early adventures of Charles Darwin on HMS Beagle, told through puppetry, music and cinematic animation.


The Fir Tree (from Tales in Moominvalley) at Norden Farm

11 December – 30 December

With puppetry and music, Tove Jansson’s captivating world of The Moomins comes to life in a snowy story of a family that wants to hibernate over Christmas…


Norwich Puppet Theatre – The Princess and the Pea

20 December – 24 December

Quirky adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale with puppets and projections, presented by Banyan Theatre and Polka Theatre. 3+.


Winnie and Wilbur: A Christmas Adventure at the Jacqueline du Pré Music Building

15 December – 23 December

Our favourite witch-and-cat double act touch down their broomstick in Oxford for this festive puppetry show created by local company Wild Boor Ideas.