What were hundreds of beach shows, now only remain a handful of independent seaside Punch and Judy shows still operating daily through the summer in the world. 2020 is the first year (in peacetime) that there have been no Punch and Judy shows on Weymouth beach, and we are in very real danger of not being able to return to the beach in 2021. We need your support, to continue this very British, 140 year tradition in Weymouth.
There once was a 4 year old child, who sat mesmerised watching Punch & Judy show at Weymouth. It could be any one of the hundreds of thousands of children, who have seen the show since 1880, but it wasn’t any one child, it was me. It was there, that day, I said, in the future it would be me performing the show on the beach at Weymouth. In 1989, aged 17, I started my business. I taught myself how to wood carve, sign write, sew, and all of the other things involved in running the show. I still make and maintain everything for the show between working at Weymouth and many other events around the south west. When time allows it, I make for other performers, collectors, and paint traditional shop front signage.
Many years later in 2005, after performing for 16 years in 8 resorts in England and Wales, my dream became a reality. My predecessor, Guy Higgins, told me he was retiring and I was the only person good enough to take over the pitch. Weymouth’s show has always been of a high standard, I’m so proud to maintain that quality for the present and future audiences of our show.
Since taking over the running of the show, I’ve performed around 3 thousand shows to tens of thousands of people. I've built a new booth also equipped for marionette shows complete with lighting, brought back evening shows on firework nights, in 2012 Mr Punch and myself were presented to the queen on her official visit to Weymouth, and for Mr Punch’s 350th birthday in 2012 I organised a bumper weekend festival, the only time ever there has been, or will be 5 shows working on the beach at Weymouth at one time. I pride myself in how accessible the show is, open to all with a relaxed space for all children (and adults) to have a fun time.
Weymouth is the jewel in the crown of the Jurassic coast, it’s one of the only places you can have a traditional day at the beach, from riding the donkeys, to having ice cream, seeing the sand sculptures, to seeing the Punch and Judy show. Our show at Weymouth isn’t a relic of the past, we explore different ways to keep the show relevant to today’s audiences, the show evolves year on year. Many Punch and Judy performers have been inspired by watching shows on the beach at Weymouth over the years, but Punch’s antics in Weymouth have inspired actors, musicians, entertainers, and artists to pursue their careers.
The show is one of the only places where families make memories together generation after generation, it’s held closely in the hearts of people around the world.
I desperately want to continue the show at Weymouth, but as all my income this year has been lost, not only at Weymouth but other bookings I use to subsidise my time on the beach, I am at a point where I’m unable to pay the bills that I usually would be able to at this time of year. I have to give up my storage unit in Weymouth because I don’t have the money to pay for the rent. If I can’t get somewhere to store the beach show I will have to scrap it. Alongside van insurance and taxes, I need other insurances and certificates in order to operate the show. Not only are there costs related to the show, but also I need to keep a roof above my head, the uncertainty of not knowing when I’ll be able to pay bills has affected my health to the point I’ve been signed off work with no idea when I’ll be able to work again.
All the money I make from working at Weymouth comes from the public, I thought the best people to turn to help for is you. I’m asking if you would normally come and see the show, please consider donating what you would have paid to see the show. If we hit our target every penny that we make will be DOUBLED, so that £5 becomes £10! Even if you don’t normally come to the show, your donation will help secure the future of this British Icon for many years to come on the golden sands of Weymouth. If you can spare more, we have a great selection of rewards, from the sublime to the ridiculous.
With many crowdfunders like ours, we have to hit our target for the money to be match funded. Please share this far and wide so we can make our target. With your generous support we will be able to bring back the show for you to enjoy on your summer 2021 holiday!