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Sunday 25 September 2016

Probe into suspected arson attack at iconic Lambert puppet theatre

Sasha Brady

Published 02/09/2015 | 02:30

Lambert Theatre director Liam Lambert with an original Judge puppet as he surveys the damage caused to the puppet theatre by the fire
Lambert Theatre director Liam Lambert with an original Judge puppet as he surveys the damage caused to the puppet theatre by the fire
The oldest puppets in the museum date back to 1850 and Mr Lambert said that it will take a number of years to fix the damage that was caused.
Image Ref. No. 2158/061...Irish actress Nora O'Mahony as Godmother, Judge the Dog and puppeteer Eugene Lambert as O'Brien (May 1978). Wanderly Wagon ran on RTÉ Television from 1967 to 1982. © RTÉ Stills Library Wanderly Wagon publicity shot (1978)
Fire damage at Lambert Puppet Theatre, Monkstown

The iconic Lambert Theatre suffered extensive damage during a suspected arson attack.

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The fire at the Monkstown theatre behind famous RTE children's series 'Wanderly Wagon' broke out just before 9pm on Friday. The blaze appears to be deliberate and gardai in Dun Laoghaire are investigating. There was extensive smoke damage to the upper floor and several puppets were damaged during the blaze.

Theatre director Liam Lambert, son of the late Eugene Lambert, praised Deansgrange Fire Brigade for their rapid response.

"They did a great job at containing the fire but it's still a massive setback for us," he said. "We had planned on doing five shows just before Christmas. The Christmas shows are always popular. We'd hoped to run Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White and more but the damage is just too extensive. We have to let a lot of people down." Each puppet takes about 60 hours to design and considerate attention to detail is required for the intricate carvings, costumes and jewellery. Some of the Christmas show puppets have been 15 years in the making.

The oldest puppets in the museum date back to 1850 and Mr Lambert said that it will take a number of years to fix the damage that was caused.

The theatre receives no state funding and relies solely on theatre-goers to stay in business.

"We have to go on," said Mr Lambert. "It is an unfortunate situation and we're all understandably very upset. We have a small team of four he re and we will all work together to get everything back on track."

The theatre will re-open for business this Saturday and hopes to run with one show, instead of the planned five, this Christmas.

"If all goes well we will begin the Aladdin performance from early November.

"There's a lot of work to get done."

Irish Independent

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