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The Punch and Judy Club was founded by some of the world’s top Punch and Judy Professors, historians, and puppet makers all keen to 'Stick Up for Mr Punch'. They aim to promote Old Red Nose and his merry band of wooden headed misfits in the best possible light by performing shows  of the highest quality. As "Custodians of Mr Punch's Heritage" these performers know that Mr Punch’s future is quite literally in their hands.

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Into The Labyrinth: A Celebration of Puppetry at the Bognor Regis Puppet Party 2024


Sponsored by Bognor Regis Town Council

(Presented by The Punch and Judy Club and Bognor Regis Heritage Partnership)

“The very best of traditional family entertainment comes to Bognor Regis”


This September a whole host of puppet shows, and street entertainers will take over Bognor Regis seafront.

Building on the success of last year’s Punch and Judy Festivalthe Bognor Regis Puppet Party 2024 will feature Punch and Judy, marionettes, ventriloquism, clowns, magicians and musicians. It will also be celebrating Jim Henson’s 1986 classic filmLabyrinth.

Based at the Royal Norfolk Hotel, the free event will star Mr Punch and hisworld-famous sausage stealing antics in some of the funniest Punch and Judy Shows in the country, presented by members of The Punch and Judy Club.


Members of the Punch and Judy Club are some of the country’s finest family entertainers, having performed tens of thousands of shows across all manner of venues, as well as for television and film, and most recently for King Charles on his visit to Punch’s British birthplace, Covent Garden.


Mr Punch is Britain’s national puppet, he has been entertaining families for over 360 years. The character Pulcinella came from the Italian commedia dell’arte shows, and first appeared in England as a marionette, spotted in Covent Garden by Samuel Pepys in 1662. Since then, he has found a home at the seaside and become an icon of Great Britain.


Other entertainers performing at the festival include comedian and ventriloquist Max Fulham and Bognor favourite James Arnott.


Max Fulham has been working professionally since his early teens and brings a fresh and contemporary twist to a classic art.Max has wowed audiences with his one man show, entertaining thousands of people in theatres across the UK and internationally. Max has also had the unique pleasure of headlining at the prestigious VentHaven Ventriloquist Convention in the USA.With TV appearances including ITV’s Saturday night show Game of Talents,Mel Giedroyc: Unforgivable on Dave and the revival of the classic Crackerjack!, Max’s comedic talents are in high demand. He is also a regular on the stand-up comedy circuit.Described as "skilled and quick-witted" by The Stage and with viral success on TikTok amassing 2 million likes, Max is a performer not to be missed.


James Arnott’s Puppets On Parade was the hit of the festival last year, and is back due to popular demand. This fast-moving variety show features marionettes, rod and glove puppets and a chance for the audience to see how the strings are pulled. Even with the secrets exposed audiences are moved to laughter and tears at the puppets’ antics. This show is a must see for puppet fans of all ages.


On Saturday 28thSeptember there will be a reunion of puppeteers from Jim Henson’s Labyrinth with a meet and greet for fans and a signing at 3pm. At 7pm there will be a screening of the film at the Picturedrome cinema, introduced by members of the 1986 cast, and followed by a question-and-answer session.


Labyrinth was conceived and directed by the late Muppet creator Jim Henson and artist Brian Froud, and produced by George Lucas. The film starred Jennifer Connelly as 16-year-old Sarah and David Bowie as Jareth, the Goblin King. Sarah embarks on a quest to reach the centre of an enormous, otherworldly maze to rescue her baby brother, and encounters a whole host of fantastical puppet creatures along the way.


Saturday evening’s event will be a rare chance for fans of the film to hear first-hand from its stars, and perhaps even some puppets too, about the making of the film at Elstree Studios in 1985. The puppet performers will reveal some of the Labyrinth’s secrets, as well as those from their other film projects, ranging from The Muppets to Star Wars, Little Shop of Horrors and even Chucky. Tickets for this one off, three-hour,celebration go on sale on Friday 10th May.


Event information:

Bognor Regis Puppet Party – Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th September 2024

Location: Grounds of the Royal Norfolk Hotel, The Esplanade, Bognor Regis, PO21 2LH.

Times: 11am – 5pm

Labyrinth – Saturday 28th September

Location: Picturedrome Cinema, Canada Grove, Bognor Regis, PO21 1DW
Time 7pm

Hands Up! is a performing opportunity for young puppeteers run by The Punch and Judy Club and Bognor Regis Heritage Partnership. After the success of last year’s Punch and Judy Festival, a whole host of puppet shows will be back by the sea in September 2024 for the Bognor Regis Puppet Party, and Hands Up! is a chance for two young performers to showcase their work at this exciting event. All styles of puppetry are welcome, from all young performers.

We are looking for two young puppeteers to perform at the event, one on  Saturday 28th and one on Sunday 29th September. In addition to performing, the winners will receive goody bags of puppet prizes and merchandise, and have the chance to work on their performance with feedback from industry leaders.

Entrants should fill in the form below, with details of the performance they would bring to the Bognor Regis Puppet Party, along with a short video.

*The competition is open to all puppeteers, regardless of experience, under the age of 21 on 29/9/24. The performance will take place at the Royal Norfolk Hotel, The Esplanade, Bognor Regis. Entrants must be available to attend, and willing to travel to the event. Entrants under the age of 18 will need permission from their parent/guardian to enter, and someone to accompany them on the day. The final date to enter is 31/7/24. Winners will be notified by 12/8/24.

Click to download Hands Up! competition entry form.

Past Events

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The Bognor Regis Punch & Judy Festival 2023

1963 saw the release of the film The Punch and Judy Man, starring Tony Hancock. Much of the film was shot on location at Bognor Regis, doubling for Piltdown on Sea, and over 2000 local residents appeared as extras.

Sixty years on the prestigious Punch and Judy Club, along with Bognor Regis Heritage Partnership and the Tony Hancock Appreciation Society, are bringing Mr Punch back to the Royal Norfolk Hotel for the weekend of Saturday 30th September and Sunday 1st October, presenting some of the country’s very best Punch and Judy shows in the gardens of the hotel in a festival celebrating Mr Punch and Tony Hancock.

Puppet collector David Wilde will be on hand to perform with Tony Hancock’s puppets from the film, reuniting them with historic artefacts, costumes, scripts and photos from the archive of the Tony Hancock Appreciation Society.

With Covent Garden May Fayre and Puppet Festival cancelled in 2020, and Mr Punch and his friends on lock down across the world, we wanted to find a way to celebrate Mr Punch's 358th birthday in style.
Alongside Alternative Arts and ThePunch and Judy Facebook page we are launching May Fayre Memories, celebrating this unique event, and the people and puppets that have found a home there.