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A POPULAR puppet festival is appealing for donations after it has been hit by arts funding cuts.

The internationally-renowned Horse and Bamboo Theatre, in Waterfoot, is setting up an online crowd-funding site with the aim of raising £1,000 which will be match funded.

Bosses at the Bacup Road venue, known as the Boo, said people’s donations will allow the puppet festival, held on May 31 and June 1, to continue to offer free attractions in its garden, and keep ticket prices low for paid events.

Alison Duddle, joint artistic director, said Rossendale Council can no longer offer the funding for the festival, and their three-year Esmee Fairbairn grant finished last year.

She said: “We’re hoping people will contribute what they can, so we can keep the Boo in Rossendale, which is important for the area.

“The £1,000 won’t make up anything near the amount for the festival, but it will make the puppet festival a richer event for people who come to see ticketed shows, and have something free to do in between.

“And it will also make free events possible for those who can’t afford to pay for ticketed shows, but would like to come to the events in the garden.

“We’re having a lovely little animation made for people to see at the crowd-funding site, which includes footage of last year’s puppet festival.

“We’ve had some great news from the Tempest Trust, who’ve offered to match the funds we raise, which will double the £1,000.

“We need it to stand on its own two feet and this is a way of achieving that.”

The crowd-funding site will go live on April 6, coinciding with Blast Off!, the theatre’s next show for young children. For more information visit www.horseandbamboo.org.