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The Hartlepool Monkey: Homecoming

Lead Artist
Toby Olié
Engagement Lead & Associate Films Director
Ruth Mary Johnson
Print Designer
Michael Cranston
2 Oct - 29 Nov 2020
Gyre & Gimble

Ahoy there, land-lubbers and-legend lovers of Hartlepool!

In 2017, Gyre & Gimble and Fuel created a hit stage show based on The Hartlepool Monkey, a legend that has survived the test of time and captured imaginations for over 200 years.

In 2020, we collaborated with people across Hartlepool to explore the myth and mystery (or the facts and history!) of the monkey who came to town.

Curated by Gyre & Gimble and local theatre maker Ruth Mary Johnson, we delivered a programme of analogue and digital community activities exploring myth, identity, and what it means to live in Hartlepool town today.

Community stories, ideas, and imaginations were celebrated during BloomInArt’s Wintertide Festival with a digital parade and a series of original puppetry films created by students at the Northern School of Art.

You can still join in with some monkey mischief as we mark the legacy of The Hartlepool Monkey in today’s modern world, you can share your stories and ideas about the myth through our online survey. Or get creative by making your own monkey puppet by downloading the template with the instructions or watching the film of how to make it on Youtube.


Supported by Arts Council England, Great Place Tees Valley, Hartlepool Town Council, County Durham Community Fund, The Wellcome Trust, The Royal Victoria Hall Foundation, and The Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation.

Great Place Tees Valley is funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Arts Council England and delivered via the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority.

"Exquisite puppeteering"

The Stage

"An earnest and brilliant thing to watch"


"A tale bursting with vibrant comedy and tender tragedy suitable for all ages"

The Courier

ABB73C5B-A51C-4932-BDF3-C60C9D79146A Created with sketchtool.