Here I present a course of study centred upon Punch and Judy. It is designed not to be a practical look at performing Punch but rather to focus on the history and development of the show. However, a study of Punch is not simply about a puppet show. Punch and Judy is a street performance and in order to fully understand it it is imperitive to know something about the street and the people who would stop to watch the show. Punch is very much a timeless character but also very much of his time.

There are some books available entirely devoted to this subject. These are:

Mr. Punch
John Philip Stead
Evans Brothers Ltd. 1950


  Punch and Judy – a history
George Speaight
Studio Vista, London 1970

  Punch and Judy - its origin and evolution
Michael Byrom
Da Silva Puppet Books, Norwich 1979
ISBN 0 9513600 0 0

  The Punch and Judy Show – History, Tradition and Meaning
Robert Leach
Batsford Academic and Educational, London 1985
ISBN 0 7134-4784-2


George Speaight's other scholarly work on the history of puppets does include a considerable amount on Punch. He later developed this into his Punch history published in 1970.

The History of the English Puppet Theatre (1955) is available online:
Click here for pdf at US
You can download the book in any of a number of digital book formats.


The other book that would be interesting to read is this one on the Russian Petrushka. The histories of these puppets is so similar you could read this book and mentally substitute Petrushka for Punch.

Petrushka, the Russian carnival puppet theatre
Catriona Kelly
Cambridge University Press 1990
ISBN 0 521 37520 7
The history of Petrushka the Punch of Russia. Includes authentic script.

The above books are generally available to buy secondhand. If you are interested in this subject my recommendation is that you read all of them, with Speaight (1970) and Leach(1985) as essential.