Thirty-three quirky and colourful puppets have travelled to the island in preparation for the highly-anticipated production of Avenue Q, which will bring laughter and delight to the Gaiety Theatre this week.

Just in time for Manx National Week, local theatre company Shoestring Productions is bringing the hilarious adult comedy back by popular demand after taking the island by storm in 2014, with all proceeds this year going to Hospice Isle of Man. 

Isle of Man Steam Packet Company has supported the show once again by assisting with the cost of travel for the puppets, scenery, props and lights which have been brought over especially.

British puppeteer Nigel Plaskitt, who has been operating and training puppets and their puppeteers for more than 40 years and is known for his work on The Muppets and Little Shop of Horrors, has been working closely with the cast over the last few weeks to help them master the delicate art of puppeteering.  

Director David Dawson said: ‘It has been an absolute pleasure working with Nigel whose professionalism and expertise in puppetry is fascinating to watch and learn from. Having him on hand to ask questions and teach the tricks of the trade has helped the cast significantly and I hope the audience enjoys watching the puppets come to life on stage.

‘Tickets are selling fast and I would encourage anyone hoping to go and watch the plot unfold to get your tickets now. This year we really have pulled out all the stops and the cast and crew are really excited - it is set to be a real showstopper!

‘I would like to offer my sincere thanks to the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company as its generosity, along with our other supporters, has allowed us to really step up the game for this year’s performance. Not only that, it means more funds can go straight to Hospice Isle of Man, which is such an important island charity.’

Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘Hospice Isle of Man is vital to the island’s community and relies heavily on donations and fundraising events, so it is great to see Shoestring Productions doing what it can for the charity, while at the same time putting on an entertaining show! I wish the all the best to the cast and crew.’

Photograph: Avenue Q puppets on arrival to the island in 2014