A MUCH-LOVED puppet theatre in Rhos-on-Sea is set to reopen, almost a year after its closure due to the death of the owner.

The Harlequin Puppet Theatre closed last year following the death of owner and director Chris Somerville, a puppeteer who had been “integral” to the theatre’s success and popularity.

The theatre was opened by Eric Bramall in 1958 and was the first permanent puppet theatre in Great Britain – the building was also given Grade II status earlier this year.

The theatre gave no official date for its return, and said more information would be provided in due course.

MORE: Director who was integral part of Harlequin Puppet Theatre dies

A spokesperson for the theatre said: “It’s been nearly a year now since the Harlequin Puppet Theatre had to close its doors due to the sad passing of its owner and director Chris Somerville and we wanted to give everyone an update on the future.

“As with any situation such as this there has been a considerable amount of work involved in administering the estate and the complexities that come with that and a business, and this still continues.

“One of the key initial aims was to secure the theatres future in terms of the physical building and its position and we were delighted to report in July that the theatre is now Grade 2 listed.

“There is still a considerable amount of work to be done in terms of restoration to ensure that the theatre is maintained, safe and nurtured for its future.

“Shows and performances will return to the theatre and the puppets will perform again, maybe not as frequently as Chris performed but certainly throughout the year together with open days for people to visit. We will of course keep everyone updated on these plans as we know more detail.

“We thank you for your continued support and good wishes and look forward to seeing visitors to the theatre again in the future.”