Punch and Judy cancelled for 2020 due to social distancing

Punch and Judy cancelled for 2020 due to social distancing

Published by George Sharpe at 12:01am 19th July 2020.

Punch and Judy won't be performing on Weymouth Beach this year. 

Mark Poulton, who runs the performances on the sea front, has come to the conclusion the shows can't go ahead this year.

He's been running them for 15 seasons, but now says the show won't go on until next year

He says it's after conversations with Weymouth Town Council.

Weymouth Beach

In a statement on the Punch and Judy Facebook page, Mark said, it's not a decision he's taken lightly:

"I've had many sleepless nights thinking it all over, as many of you will know the show has had financial difficulties over the past few years.

"I don't perform the show as a hobby or because it's a 'nice thing to do'. I perform the show for a living, to make a profit. I really can't see that this was going to happen this year. I might have just broken even. 

"Obviously as an entertainer, I'm lucky enough that I get a real 'buzz' from working with a live audience."

Most of his income is made over summer and due to COVID-19 Mark has lost all of his paid bookings, including festivals and the beach work over the main bank holidays. 

Health risks and the possibility of another lockdown were big influences in Mark's decision, as it poses a big financial risk that he said he just can't take. 

"As the beach work is my only income during August (apart from one festival), I have zero money coming in apart from Universal Credit, which I am having to use to bay bills connected to the business, so things are tight. Grants have been applied for to help but sadly I'm not eligible for many of the help available.

"Weymouth Town Council have been brilliant through this and are obviously stretched financially and I, therefore, would not expect or pursue any financial support from them. I must add that I was awarded £350 help from B-Side Artists Emergency fund, for which I'm very grateful.

"It's going to be a real struggle to get through but I do hope and very much look forward to returning to Weymouth in 2021 to carry on this historic, heritage attraction."