IT may have been one of the more wooden performances to grace Poole’s Lighthouse Theatre – but the youngsters loved it just the same.

The arts centre has been holding its first Puppet Festival and the Pinocchio Puppet Workshop – where children got the chance to pick up a host of puppeteer tips – was a highlight.

Pinocchio – the traditional tale of the wooden puppet who longs to become a real boy – was just one of the events taking place during the half-term festival.

There has also been a Cinderella puppet workshop, a series of puppeteer performances and an exhibition in the theatre’s gallery.

Lighthouse spokesman Paul Tucker said: “Puppet makers are a strange breed.

“Using a vast array of techniques and materials they summon up near-life creations that talk, gesticulate and almost appear to breathe.

“Visitors are now able to discover the process, try out some puppets on-screen and be inspired.”

The P is for Puppet exhibition will remain at the Lighthouse until March 17, while the eight-day puppet festival finishes on Saturday.

Lighthouse education programmer Helen Donaldson hopes the inaugural festival will become a firm favourite in Poole’s cultural calendar.

She said: “Puppets and puppet shows have been around for centuries but over the last 10 years there has been a resurgence.

“Lighthouse has always included puppetry in its programme but it has been exciting to welcome some new companies, Cube Theatre and Squashbox Theatre for children.”

• Traditional fairytales, including Pinocchio and Cinderella, are being ditched by parents because they are too scary for youngsters, a study has found.

This study centred around a poll of 2,000 adults, commissioned to mark the launch of the hit US television drama GRIMM.

A quarter of parents revealed they would not consider reading traditional fairytales to their children until they reached the age of five.

Also, more than half said Cinderella sent a bad message to children, as it portrays a young woman doing housework all day.