Mr Punch has always been popular in schools as an end of term treat or at the annual fun day, recently however, he has been receiving more and more invitations to visit the classroom! In response to this I have developed a fun and informative presentation for schools which is perfect for key stage 1 and 2 children studying topics including; The Victorians, The Edwardians, The Seaside, Holidays in the Past and Traditional Entertainment.
Typically, I begin with a brief introduction to Mr Punch and his history. Using large pictures as a visual aid, I tell the story of how, over 350 years ago Mr Punch started his life in England as the Italian string puppet Pulcinella. How Pulcinella became Punchinello and eventually, Mr Punch, cutting his strings and rising to fame as a popular street entertainer in the Victorian times. And how, with the emerging popularity of the coastal resorts, Mr Punch jumped on the train and followed the crowds to the seaside.
The children are then treated to a performance of ‘the real thing’. My traditional, British, seaside show is extremely popular with school children!
After the performance there is an informal question and answer session, where the children get to ask questions such as, ‘How do you make that funny voice?’, ‘Why is there a crocodile in the show?’ and ‘Why is Mr. Punch’s stick called a slapstick?’
Finally, the children get the opportunity to handle the traditional wooden puppets and take a peek behind the scenes of a real Punch and Judy show!
This really is a fun and informative way for the children to learn and all this costs the same as a standard single performance. The whole presentation lasts around 50 minutes and I can vary the content depending on the teacher’s requirements and the age of the children.