Local puppet theatre ‘disheartened’ by Covid delays but ploughs on with summer line-up

Upcoming show Nature Elly will feature plenty of animal puppets. Photograph: Little Angel Theatre

London’s only purpose-built puppet theatre in Islington is pressing ahead with its summer line-up despite the “disheartening” news that Covid restrictions have been extended for a further four weeks.

Little Angel children’s theatre on Upper Street is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, but the pandemic has put the small charity under financial strain.

Its ’60 for 60′ fundraising campaign runs for another four days and has so far raised £4,310 – still a little way off its £6,000 target.

Artistic director Samantha Lane and executive director Peta Swindall said: “We are very disheartened to hear about the four-week delay to Covid restrictions.  As a small charity that relies heavily on box office income, this is a huge blow and will have a big impact, putting increased pressure on our already inflated fundraising targets and future income targets.  Not to mention the workload of our staff team.

“We will continue to be proactive and creative about the many ways in which we can engage with audiences – both digitally and in-person – as we have done throughout the pandemic.  The safety of our performers and audiences will always be our top priority, and we very much hope that the new date of 19 July will remain on track.”

The theatre’s summer season features both indoor and outdoor performances, with highlights including Nature Elly, which will involve lots of animal puppets, and The Wishing Tree, one of the many shows taking place as part of the venue’s annual Puppet Picnic, running throughout August in Islington Square.

Lane and Swindall added: “We are so excited to announce our summer season of work.  Both Nature Elly and The Wishing Tree have been developed in close collaboration with school and community groups which is really important to us.

“Little Angel Theatre runs a dedicated schools partnership programme and a dedicated community outreach programme in order to break down barriers to engagement and serve the needs of our entire community in a creative way, and we are delighted to be sharing these nature-inspired stories with children and their families.  We are especially pleased to be giving away hundreds of tickets for each show to local children and their families who have helped us to develop the work.

“Alongside these shows, we are also running puppetry projects with partnership organisations including Solace Women’s Aid, Age UK and Islington Council, as well as working with local food banks to support their work and provide enrichment activities for their beneficiaries.”

To find out more about what’s in store at Little Angel Theatre, head to littleangeltheatre.com