PuppetLink is a performing arts charity specialising in puppet theatre and allied arts. In 2007 it mounted a regional touring exhibition ‘Carry on Punch & Judy’ with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund. This acted as a pilot for The Big Grin - a national project celebrating Mr. Punch’s 350th ‘birthday’ in 2012.


The Greatest Punch & Judy Show on Earth and the performers

The idea behind The Big Grin was simple. It would start with a mass gathering of Profs for The Greatest Punch & Judy Show On Earth at the historic location in London’s Covent Garden where Samuel Pepys first noted Punch’s ancestor in 1662.

The celebrations would then spread out to the whole of the UK, with a Big Grin Roadshow visiting Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales as well as travelling to as many places in England as possible.

A whole network of partners was recruited to help, from major national institutions such as the V&A to individual Professors working in their own neighbourhoods. Money was raised to pay for it all with the lion’s share being awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.


The Big Grin Birthday in Covent Garden


The Big Grin in Morecambe


Weymouth’s Big Grin Maritime Mix


Mr. Punch’s birthday card visits Buxton

It was the largest celebration of Mr. Punch in history.

Prof. Glyn Edwards
Project Director: The Big Grin