The designs for a new puppet theatre building, puppet museum and workshop areas have been approved and the company are in the process of fund raising to achieve the dream of building a specially resourced centre for puppetry. It is planned that the building will provide facilities that match puppet theatres on the continent. This will enhance the company’s own productions and enable visiting companies to visit, bringing less equipment with them. The museum will house and exhibit Upfront’s growing collection of puppets from around the world and will also host exhibitions from other puppet collections in Great Britain. The building will have front of house resources and also storage and construction workshops for the company. There will be a dedicated separate education/ performance/workshop area for practical exploration of the art and history of puppetry.
To date the company have raised £187,000 towards the project from the Rural Development programme for England and they awaite the outcome of a bit to the Arts Council of Great Britain for £90,000. If the Arts Council agree to fund the project then building can begin in March 2012. The building would be the first purpose built theatre and arts centre in Eden and the first purpose built puppet theatre in England.