Save our much-loved Harlequin Puppet Theatre!

October 23, 2020 - 539 views

The Harlequin Puppet Theatre is part of a national initiative launched by Theatres Trust to prevent the permanent closure of hundreds of UK theatres.

The Harlequin Puppet Theatre is a puppet theatre in Rhos-on-Sea and a much loved part of our local heritage and community.

As Britain's oldest permanent puppet theatre, the Harlequin was built in 1958 by the late Eric Bramall and is now run by his partner, Chris Somerville, the only surviving member of the original team. Despite the steady decline of the British seaside holiday, and the general shrinkage of theatre-going The Harlequin still has a loyal family audience who continue to enjoy shows which delight the adults and enthrall the children.

For young children this is often their first theatrical experience. Indeed many of the younger parents have never themselves enjoyed live entertainment before. But the theatre really does need your help to keep going until shows can start up again when safe to do so. Sadly the theatre risks permanent closure becuase of the COVID-19 situation.

It has always been funded by the theatre ticket sales together with the fees from other puppetry work by Chris and Eric, and since Eric's death in 1996, by Chris alone. Now an OAP, Chris no longer has a theatre income nor can he subsidise the theatre from his out of season children's entertainment work which also been curtailed by COVID.

Also, despite generous help from friends and well-wishers, what savings Chris had were eaten up by supporting the theatre following the arson attack in 2017 which kept the theatre closed for 6 months.

Please listen to Chris talk about the origins of the theatre and how it came to be set up in Rhos and Sea, along with details of how important their Crowdfunder appeal is to keep going.

If you think you can help, please visit https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/firstpuppettheatre

Thank you.