Famous puppet show to feature in Weston Museum’s new exhibition

PUBLISHED: 12:00 23 May 2018

Punch and Judy will feature in Weston Museum's exhibition. Picture: Weston Museum

Punch and Judy will feature in Weston Museum's exhibition. Picture: Weston Museum

Weston Museum

Weston Museum will be opening an exhibition dedicated to Punch and Judy later this week.

The outside of Weston Museum. Picture: Keith Spicer.The outside of Weston Museum. Picture: Keith Spicer.

The Burlington Street museum, which re-opened last year after a £1.6million refurbishment, uses one of its exhibition spaces for temporary galleries.

That’s The Way To Do It: Punch And Judy Through The Ages will open on Saturday, replacing the exhibition on tattoos and facial hair. It will evoke nostalgic memories of seaside holidays and reveal the stories behind local Punch and Judy show performers.

Visitor services manager Matthew Hardy said: “This is a fantastic celebration of a traditional seaside entertainment which has a long history in Weston.”

There will be puppets galore on display, alongside other memorabilia and ephemera.

Visitors can delve deeper into the world of the famous puppets by trying out hands-on gallery activities.

The meaning and relevance of Punch and Judy in the 20th century will also be touched upon.

A Punch and Judy performance was first recorded in Britain in around 1662, when Mr Punch was called Pulcinella, in Samuel Pepys’ diary.

It has gone through a number of changes down the years – for example, comedy routines involving a hangman getting hanged may have been entertaining for the Victorians, but it has dropped out as it not as topical nowadays.

New characters and plots have emerged in shows around the UK to reflect attitudes and modern jokes.

Throughout August, there will be live Punch and Judy performances in the museum courtyard every Friday, from Paul Wheeler. He has performed all over the UK delivering the traditional show.

The exhibition will run until September 16, and, along with the rest of the museum, it is free to visit. It has been created in association with the South West Heritage Trust and The Fedora Group.

Visitors are encouraged to donate money instead of a fixed entry price, as Weston Town Council, which runs the museum, is hoping to apply for further funding to go ahead with a second phase of the refurbishment.

The museum is open from 10am-5pm daily.

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