IT was a welcome return to Skipton at the weekend for the Skipton Puppet Festival which had a slimmed down catalogue of events to reflect the current Covid restrictions.

Despite a need to keep socially distanced, the weekend was a great success and at the acts were well received by visitors who thronged to the canal basin on both warm and fine days.

The main attractions were the array of puppeteers who skilfully brought their charges to life in a blend of traditional and experimental puppetry in bite-size pieces, rather than the intense jamboree of performances in the past.

Other family favourites going on included Punch and Judy and a flea circus, all brought to the public by such companies as Thingumajig Theatre, Promenade Promotions, Praguemarionette and the Lempen Puppet Theatre Company.

The events had been bolstered with an Arts Council grant of £29,000 and generous support from Skipton BID providing seed funds which then enabled a strong and successful grants application.

One of the festival organisers, Liz Lempen said:”The weekend was a great success. Not the usual event with thousands attending, but a Covid-safe, socially distanced and very happy space for Skipton crowds to enjoy a dose of puppetry after a long drought.

“There was an ebb and flow of people but overall really good and a lovely atmosphere. I think people really enjoyed the shows but also the conversations and the feeling of sharing and being part of something again.”

The puppet festival was the first of a series of six weekends happening across the next six months to November to bring entertainment to the town centre.

The next one will be the weekend of July 10 and 11 will take place at Skipton Town Hall. It will be one of the first events to be held in the recently refurbished town hall.

Throughout the rest of the year there will be a series of events dotted around Skipton including puppet-making activities.

Geraldine Thompson, Skipton BID Manager said: “We are so happy that we can keep the puppet tradition alive in Skipton.

“The puppet shows are timeless, appealing to everyone and with shows available this year from June to November we look forward to integrating this cultural programme back into the community offering.”

In order to keep up with the date of the next events, follow the festival on its Facebook page:

In addition, more information can be found on the website: