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The Tunbridge Wells Puppetry Festival 

Call Out for Heritage Lottery Funded Commission

In October 2015, a new festival will launch in Tunbridge Wells called Tunbridge Wells Puppetry Festival.

Tunbridge Wells Puppet Festival in collaboration with the Tunbridge Wells Museum and Gallery has been awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund grant to create work for the festival on 9th/10th October 2015

We are inviting puppetry companies and artists to submit an application to create a piece of interpretative puppetry work of no more than 30 minutes in length, inspired by the work of George Smart and Jasper Sprange and the worlds in which they lived.

George Smart, the tailor of Frant (1776-1846), used off-cuts of his materials to make collages to sell to tourists in the resurgent spa town. His work was included in Tate Britain’s folk art exhibition in 2014 and, as a result, is being reassessed for national significance.

Jasper Sprange (1746-1823) was a printer, bookseller and lending library proprietor who pasted samples of his printed ephemera in a series of albums. Sprange also published guidebooks containing descriptions of historic buildings and landscapes in the surrounding countryside and anecdotes relating to local characters.

Information on the work of these two local artists is available on request.

An exhibition of George Smart and Jasper Sprange work is currently on show at the Tunbridge Wells Museum and Gallery (until 31/5/15)

If you are interested in creating a new puppetry show of maximum 30 minutes (it is envisaged that audience will stand to watch this) which can be performed in the museum and art gallery space please send the following information

  • Why you wish to apply
  • An overview of the piece and techniques you would like to use
  • CVs of artists and previous experience of creating performance work
  • The timescale for your work
  • A budget for creating, making, rehearsing and performing the work for at least 3 performances in 2015 during the festival  on 9th/10th October 2015 in Tunbridge Wells

What we can offer

  • The Museum can offer up to three facilitated half day sessions with the collections team to research Smart and Sprange and the history of Tunbridge Wells
  • The opportunity to showcase the work in the museum space
  • An all inclusive fee of £16,000 paid in 3 installments following progress showings and reports
  • Additional mentoring from the directors of the festival, Linda Lewis and Bethan Tomlinson
  • For additional information please contact Linda Lewis, Director, Creative Director on or Bethan Tomlinson, Executive Director on

Applications MUST be received by midday on 11th May 2015 

Please send applications by e-mail only to

Interviews will be with the directors of the festival and the Museum Audience Development Manager in Tunbridge Wells on Mon 18th May The decision will be made by 20th May 2015.

This project is funded by The Heritage Lottery Fund and Tunbridge Wells Museum and Gallery.