Swings and Roundabouts: Lambert Puppet Theatre

Swings and Roundabouts: Lambert Puppet Theatre

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Baile na Manach, Downpatrick, Dún Laoghaire, Dunleary, Monkstown




Production 01/11/1988


15min 00sec







Digitised as part of the UTV Archive Partnership Project (ITV, Northern Ireland Screen and PRONI)


Department for Communities, ITV, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, UTV Archive

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Jane and Barney are going to a puppet show. Meet Barney’s new friend on string, Polly the puppet, and sing a song with Jane to get in the mood for another exciting road trip. They are off to Downpatrick to meet the Lambert  puppets who are on tour.

Down in Downpatrick, Jane and Barney meet Eugene Lambert, the mastermind and creative force behind behind the Lambert Puppet Theatre. He has driven all the way from Dublin in a special van full of puppets, lights and other equipment needed to build a puppet theatre. When on the road, Eugene and company have to build their own puppet theatre everywhere they go..

Jane and Barney take a sneaky peek behind the curtain of the puppet theatre and see what needs to be set up. They learn about stage lighting, scenery and curtains, sound effects and all sorts of equipment necessary for a smooth-running show. Today’s story is a well known classic called ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’. While the show goes on in Downpatrick, Jane and Barney take a look back to last summer when they visited the home of the Lambert puppets in Dunleary. Eugene and his family have their own puppet theatre and here is where the Lamberts make all their scenery, props as well as the puppets. Eugene’s daughter Miriam, a core member of the theatre, shows us how she makes all the amazing costumes the puppets wear and Eugene explains how the puppets are made. 


In 1972 Eugene Lambert set up the Lambert Puppet Theatre and Museum in Monkstown, County Dublin, Ireland’s only purpose-built puppet theatre. Eugene grew up in Sligo and is entirely self-taught. He cites a trip to Dublin with his father to see ‘Peter Pan’ in the Theatre Royal as a formative influence. Eugene, his wife Mai and all of their 10 children were involved with the theatre at some stage.

Eugene is probably best known for his role as O’Brien in ‘Wanderly Wagon’ which run from 1968 to 1982. His creativity and passion for puppetry is an inspiration to others and has a lasting impact on the world of puppetry.   The family theatre suffered a serious arson attack in 2015 which eventually led to the Lambert Puppet Theatre permanently closing its doors. 


Presented by Jane Cassidy

Also features Eugene and Miriam Lambert of the Lambert Puppet Theatre 


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