Cabaret Mechanical Theatre presents the Fantastic Fairground Factory at Tullie House Museum, a brand-new exhibition exploring the secrets of the fairground with exhibits designed to bemuse, baffle and bewilder.


Image Credit: Gayle Laird, © Exploratorium,

This summer the Fantastic Fairground Factory exhibition brings all the fun of the fair to Tullie House with automata and interactive games to inspire and amaze. Families can explore the well-loved characters and sideshows found at the fairground with a collection of beautiful and amusing automata and awe-inspiring optical illusions. Then get hands on and discover the science of the sideshow with a shadow puppet theatre, helter-skelter marble run and traditional fairground games in a fun-filled exhibition for all ages to enjoy.

The exhibition will feature 30 stunning, intricate and interactive automata inspired by the fairground, created by renowned and international artists. Large scale interactives will provide visitors with a better understanding of the secrets and science behind the art of automata.

The exhibition includes some fairground favourites;

  • Discover the wonders of gravity with an interactive helter-skelter marble run.
  • Baffle the senses with optical illusions and the hall of mirrors.
  • Discover characters and tell stories with a mechanical shadow puppet theatre.
  • Get a glimpse into the future and have a go on the Wheel of Fortune.
  • Impress with games of skill to test reflexes and nerves of steel. 

Images: Left to Right: Pegasus by Keith Newstead - Photo: Henri Scheebeli, Matchstick Nibbler by Paul Spooner - Photo:Gayle Laird, © Exploratorium,, Montmatre Anubis by Paul Spooner - Photo: Cabaret Mechanical Theatre

Alongside the exhibition we've got a fun-packed programme planned for children and their families, but not to let the kids have all the fun we're hosting a couple of late events for the 'grown ups'!

Saturday 29 - Sunday 30 June - Opening Weekend Celebrations - To celebrate the opening of the Fantastic Fairground Factory there’ll be exciting activities and fairground themed craft workshops to further explore the marvellous world of automata. Be amongst the first to see the exhibition and join us for crafts on Saturday 29 June, or visit on Sunday 30 June when the fairground takes over the museum's gardens - with an exciting funday with fairground games, performers and craft activities.   

Throughout the summer holidays there will be family craft drop-ins 1.00pm – 4.00pm, every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Relaxed craft sessions are bookable between 11.00am – 12.00pm, every Tue during the summer holidays, for those who may feel overwhelmed during our usual drop-ins. 

The family team will also be hosting Automata Workshops for children to create their own contraptions, mixing art and science to learn a new skill. The automata workshops will cost £10 per child, booking is essential. 

Tuesday 2 July, Fairground Life Drawing - a fun and social life drawing experience inspired by the exhibition, with music and drinks to get your creativity flowing.

Friday 20 September - The Underground Fairground - explore the dark-side of the fairground with a special late opening of the exhibition. With music, live performances and creative interventions inspired by sinister sideshows, freaky fairground rides and disorientating illusions.





The Fantastic Fairground Factory is a touring exhibition from Cabaret Mechanical Theatre.





Adult: £6.50 Free with Annual Ticket Children: £3.00 Free with Annual Ticket holder


On: 29 th June 2019, 10:00 am Until: 06 th October 2019, 4:00 pm


Art Gallery