About us

Puppet Centre - promoting, developing and connecting puppetry in England

Established in 1974 as a trust and registered charity, Puppet Centre is the national development agency for puppetry and focuses on contemporary performance practice, encouraging innovation, whilst also respecting and preserving the heritage of the art form.

Puppet Centre's strategic role incorporates the use of puppetry in outdoor arts, carnival, dance, opera, screen animation, and theatre sectors.  Anticipating and responding to artistic developments and changes in audience engagement, the organisation’s long-term role has taken a range of strategic routes over its 40 year history.

HAG
The Wrong Crowd’s HAG, 2013. Photography: Richard Davenport.

Recent Puppet Centre work includes:

  • Co-ordinating the "Working Together to Strengthen Puppetry" period of consultation and successful bid to Arts Council England to continue the programme as co-ordinators of the Puppetry Development Consortium (2014)
  • Residency programmes to support emerging artists Grist to the Mill and No Nonsense Theatre at Z-arts in Manchester and The Nuffield, Southampton (2013);
  • Puppetry in Opera symposium in collaboration with Trinity Laban Conservatoire, The Barbican and Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (2012);
  • Big Ideas Puppetry/Street Arts symposium delivered with ISAN and University of Winchester (2010);
  • Facilitation of R&D at the V&A Museum for The Puppet Story, and artsdepot for Rachel Warr and Alison Alexander, with ‘Beegu’ (2013);
  • Bursaries for travel and training. Previous bursary holders include Mervyn Millar whose trip to Handspring in South Africa was instrumental in creating War Horse. Recent recipients including Hannah Mulder, The Wrong Crowd (2012);
  • A comprehensive programme of skills training workshops;
  • Animations Online - Puppet Centre’s e-magazine offering discussion, debate, reviews and news, and Puppet Centre’s monthly e-newsletter;
  • Mentoring for puppetry artists and advice to non-puppeteers.

Animals and children

The Animals and Children took to the Streets by 1927, photograph: Nick Flintoff 

Current developments:

Puppet Centre is an Associate Company resident at BAC. Following the fire in April 2015 and the on-going renovations to the building, we have been offered shared desk space whilst offices are being found for all the residents. In the meantime, if you can't find what you're looking for on the website feel free to give us a call: 020 7228 5335 to speak to Bethan. You can also contact us via our e-mail and social media channels, including FacebookTwitter and our monthly newsletter. We will get back to you as soon as we possibly can.

At Puppet Centre, we are determined to continue our work in developing, connecting and advocating for the art form of puppetry in England. We are delighted to confirm that we were recently appointed to co-ordinate the work of the newly established Puppetry Development Consortium and we are looking forward to this exciting new chapter in our history. We're pleased to have on board Bethan Tomlinson who is supporting the administrative elements of the Puppetry Development Consortium and Roxana Haines who is currently PCT's administrator. 

Click here to read the full release about the Puppetry Development Consortium

We are reviewing and interviewing several of the puppetry artists involved in The London International Mime Festival 2016 which is taking place now! Watch this space for Mervyn (the chair of PCT's board) who's been chatting with The Wrong Crowd who are the company behind KITE, and our admin Roxana is also interviewing Frank Soehnle - the imagination behind Figuren Theater Tübingen. They will be posted on Animations as soon as they are ready. 

We are continuing to grow and develop Animations Online and we are planning a fundraising campaign to expand its activity and impact in 2016. But in the mean time if you would like to get involved we're looking for articles to post on Animations, provocative questions to share and respond to and ways to implement the future of puppetry in the UK. Email us if you've got a fully formed concept or just an idea... contact Roxana at pct@puppetcentre.org.uk

Register for monthly e-newsletter

War Horse

War Horse at the New London Theatre, photograph: Simon Annand

  • Learn more about Puppet Centre's history

    Scroll through the years using the left and right arrows to find out more about Puppet Centre's history.

    Old logo              Princess Diana              Puppetry in opera

    2014

  • 'Puppetry in Opera'

    • 'Puppetry in Opera' was held on the 9th and 10th November 2012 and offered 'Ground breaking ideas and visions for the future'
    • Day one was held at the Barbican with high profile speakers including; William Kentridge, David Pountney, Stefan Fichert, Mark Down, Nori Sawa, Alberto Jona, Anna Karinsdotter, Penny Francis MBE and Daniel Snowman talking of their own experiences of the two art forms
    • In the evening attendees were treated to a showing of work in progress from the Young Artsists Project run in partnership with Puppet Centre, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
    • Day two was held at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama where participants took part in workshops throughout they day. Each workshop contained an opera and puppetry director
    • The two day event is a resounding success with many new relationships forged and the promise of new and exciting work to push both art forms forward in the future
  • 'Puppetry Provocations' provoke

    • The new Puppet Centre website is launched on 1st May
    • Showing of work in progress by the 2011-12 resident companies. Pif Paf (Pete Gunson and Eleanor Hooper) from mac Birmingham; Little Ray (Corina Bona) from Ferment at Bristol Old Vic; and Beady Eye Theatre (Kristin Fredricksson) from Farnham Maltings.
    • ‘Puppetry Provocations’ was a series run in partnership with the Little Angel Theatre to discuss the art form of puppetry and the puppeteers. Speakers included: Penny Francis MBE, Mark Down, Peter Glanville, Becky Smith and Rene Baker
    • Awarded funding from Grants for the Arts for the forthcoming year
    • Residencies at Z-arts and the Nuffield Theatre Southampton for 2012-13 are launched. Isobel Smith of Grist to the Mill is in place at Nuffield, and No Nonsense Theatre at Z-arts, Manchester
    • Travel and training bursary 2012 is also launched and successful applicants include: Isabel Lyster, Lesley Butler, Becca Rose, Soledad Zartare, Hannah Mulder, Liat Rosenthal and Kathleen Yore
    • Puppet Centre visits the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and offers a free 'Maximum Effect' Handspring puppetry workshop with Al Nedjari as well as a 'Puppetry Provocations' with Peter Glanville
    • Two 'Voice for Puppeteers' are held and facilitated by Dolly May who also teaches at CSSD
    • 'Puppetry in Opera' takes place in November 2012 and is a resounding success
  • 'Puppets Abroad' is published

    • ‘Puppetry Snax’ showcase for family work in development
    • New Administrator in place
    • Publication ‘Puppets Abroad’ booklet launched in collaboration with British UNIMA promoting British companies available to tour abroad
    • Symposium on directing puppetry as part of the Suspense Festival
    • Workshop with Georgian Director, Nino Namicheishvili, on the ‘Choreography of Puppetry’ as part of the Suspense Festival
    • Workshop with Mandinga Arts on making large puppets for outdoor performance
    • Handspring Puppet Company on manipulation and aspects of the Handspring way
    • ‘How to tweet’, 'How to apply to Gfta' and ‘How to book a tour’ sessions 
    • Following a successful application to Grants for the arts intensive work begins on a new website
    • Penny Francis MBE, founding member publishes her book ‘Puppetry: A Reader in Theatre Practice’
  • 'Big Ideas' and a big year

    • ‘Big Ideas’ in collaboration with University of Winchester; Independent Street Arts Network (ISAN); UK Centre for Carnival Arts (UKCCA); Emergency Exit Arts (EEA) and X.TRAX
    • ‘How to...’ workshop series initiated. The first on marketing and the arts
    • Graduate residencies at BAC awarded to Annie Brooks, Unpacked and (R)Evolution, including practical help and guidance from the Puppet Centre, rehearsal space and a showcase
    • Masterclasses and workshops: four during the year with leading artists in the field
    • Showcases 'Nuts and Bolts' by Puppet Centre and CSSD graduate residency recipients 
    • ‘Puppetry Snax’ – a sharing opportunity for adult work in development
    • National puppetry online archive project: discussions with The British Puppet and Model Theatre Guild and other interested parties to discuss an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund to support this
  • 'Animated Bodies' is published

    • In 2009 Puppet Centre gave over its gallery and library space to BAC. Puppet Centre is now located in the Old Nurses Room on the second floor of BAC.
    • ‘Animations in Print no. 3: Animated Bodies’ articles with an accent on the relationship of puppetry and dance, reviewing work in Britain of 2008. 
    • Recruitment of a new Director for Puppet Centre - Linda Lewis

    2009

  • 'Animated Advances' is published

    • Business plan development with Simon Hart Director of Puppet Animation Scotland as consultant
    • ‘Animations in Print no. 2: Animated Advances’ as a review as 'Animated Encounters' of 2007
    • December - adventures in dance and puppetry in BAC’s Grand Hall individual pieces linking the two art forms. 
    • ‘Animating the Animators’ - bursaries offered to selected practitioners to explore the relationships of dance and puppetry, and to commission a performance
    • Masterclass in Norwich Puppet Theatre by Tabula Rasa

    2008

  • 'Animated Encounters' is published

    • ‘Animations in Print no. 1: Animated Encounters’ review illustrated in colour of the puppetry seen in Britain during 2006
    • Move out of Puppet Centre spaces to office on ground floor at BAC to be Puppet Centre’s permanent home with expectation of extra adjoining office in due course

    2007

  • 'Transformations' transforms Wandsworth

    • Beccy Smith leaves and Natalie Querol is appointed Administrator
    • Launch of ‘Animating the Animators 2’ 
    • Project 'Transformations' funded by Paul Hamlyn Foundation run on a Wandsworth estate
    • Masterclass in Manchester with Ronnie Burkett
    • Workshops in vocal skills, mask and movement and training for those delivering workshops
    • Project ‘Gathering the Strings’
    • Funding by Arts Council England secured. Four bursaries provided by CETT (Centre for Excellence in Training for Theatre, based at Central School for Speech and Drama) for puppeteers to be based at BAC with some use of the facilities there 
    • ‘Tales of Shadow’ project for Wandsworth funded by Walter St. John Trust. Collaboration with National Theatre to provide puppetry workshops in schools throughout London and at the Imperial War Museum
  • First workshop at LIMF

    • Collaborations with London International Mime Festival (workshop programmed was ‘The Logic of Movement’) and National Student Drama Festival (workshops)
    • ‘Moving Words’ project – the pairing of a playwright and a puppeteer to produce a short piece of work - in collaboration with the Soho Theatre where the outcomes would be shown. Funded by Esmée Fairbairn Foundation 
    • Arts Council funding for the bursary scheme restored. Puppet Centre a de facto national organisation
    • Masterclasses supported in Bristol, Brighton and Norwich
    • Workshops for young people run during the Wandsworth Arts festival
    • Renovation of the Puppet Centre studio with a windfall grant from Wandsworth Borough Council
    • Exhibitions in Chertsey and Stevenage
    • Most of the puppet collection moved to Bridgnorth, Shropshire, to be in the care of Michael Dixon
    • 30th anniversary buffet and cabaret in the BAC café

     

  • Animating the Animators

    • Two-year programme of work produced called ‘Animating the Animators’
    • Workshop with Ronnie Burkett
    • The collections - storage is no longer possible for Puppet Centre at BAC
    • Continuing professional development panel instituted
    • Lead advisor (John Sharples) produces business plan for next three years (funded by Arts Council England)
  • Animations Online is launched

    • Beccy Smith is appointed Administrator and later Director
    • Penny Francis resigns as Chair
    • ‘Round table 2’ - both round tables a success
    • Tom Morris, Director of BAC, support the work of Puppet Centre, and writes a paper with advice for Puppet Centre's future.
    • Anthony Dean appointed to Chair of Puppet Centre
    • Baring Foundation’s strengthening the voluntary sector funds successful application for a grant for a part-time researcher of sources of funding
    • ‘Animations Online’ launched in March with Dorothy Max Prior as Editor
    • Arts Council of Great Britain restores funding for two bursaries at £8,500 each. Also funds two staff members, a Lead Advisor (John Sharples) and a Project Manager
    • Tom Morris leaves BAC to be Associate Director at National Theatre
  • 'Round Table' launches

    • Workshop in centre run by Drak’s Josef and Jakub Krofta. Forum after the Krofta workshop
    • Administration Assistant for Katie Richardson appointed
    • Part of the office sublet to Frantic Assembly
    • ‘Round table 1’ - Prestigious gathering of influential friends of the Puppet Centre to discuss its future
  • Continued support

    • Continuing support from Association of London Grants and Wandsworth Borough Council
    • Policy at Puppet Centre changed to serve London region only
    • May: Newsletter no 2
    • Katie Richardson in post 4 days a week

    2001

  • Operating with volunteers

    • Puppet Centre operates with volunteers
    • ‘Animations’ suspended. An A4 sheet of news issued
    • Kate Gant employed April to September as Development Consultant, funded by Arts Council England
    • London Borough Grants to be called Association of London Grants and funding ceases to Puppet Centre and many other London based organisations

    2000

  • Puppet Centre's 25th anniversary

    • 25th anniversary year 
    • March workshop on fundraising from trusts by the Charities Aid Foundation
    • London Borough Grants Council awards ongoing funding of £27,473
    • June conference of all puppetry organisations
    • 1-3 October 'Unstrung Heroes', in the BAC festival of visual theatre
    • Director Loretta Howells resigns

     

  • 'Fantasy in Action' tour

    • Death of Honorary Treasurer John Phillips in July
    • New Chair of Puppet Centre appointed - Clive Chandler
    • ‘Fantasy in Action’ touring exhibition continues
    • Lakeside Shopping Centre festival of puppetry in July/August. Sponsored by the shopping centre and with a pairing grant from Association of Business Sponsorship for the Arts 
    • Workshop object animation in BAC festival of visual theatre which hosted a ‘puppetry day’

    1998

  • 'Toy Theatre' celebration

    • ‘Toy Theatre’ an evening celebration and a Christmas season of Joe Gladwin’s ‘Cinderella’

    1997

  • Fundamental change

    • Change of constitution to a company limited by guarantee and re-registered as a charity
    • Slimmer structure
    • Executive committee and council merged into a ‘board of directors’ chosen from a national advisory panel consisting of representatives of all the national organisations and a 50% proportion of practitioner puppeteers

    1996

  • A great puppetry party

    • New Chair of Puppet Centre appointed - Glyn Edwards 
    • ‘The Great Puppet Party’ street parade outside and colourful celebrations, workshops and performances inside BAC 
    • ‘Fantasy in Action’ touring exhibition created
    • Jonkonnu – Jamaican masquerade along Lavender Hill

    1995

  • Mystery donor

    • Legacy received of £28,000 from Miss Helen Elizabeth Hanson, a mystery admirer of Puppet Centre’s work
    • New Executive Director of Puppet Centre appointed - Anna Ledgard

    1994

  • On the brink

    • David Currell (pictured) steps down as Chairman from the Puppet Centre Trust Council
    • Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation enquiry into the state of national puppetry. Publication of the findings in a booklet titled ‘On the Brink of Belonging’
    • Central School of Speech and Drama (CSSD) in collaboration with Puppet Centre inaugurates the first puppetry course in higher education. Graduates receive an advanced diploma in higher education. Penny Francis appointed course tutor
  • A royal visit

    • Princess Diana visits BAC to open a new studio theatre and spends time with children at Puppet Centre (pictured) 
    • Publication of ‘Aspects of Puppet Theatre’, a book of essays by Henryk Jurkowski, edited by Penny Francis

    1988

  • International master class

    • Third international master class on adapting and writing for puppet theatre, held at BAC

    1987

  • Writing for puppet theatre

    • Second international master class on adapting and writing for puppet theatre, held in Norwich

    1986

  • Great success

    • Demonstration takes place outside Arts Council Great Britain in Piccadilly, on the proposed withdrawl of revenue funding to Puppet Centre (pictured) 
    • First international master class on adapting and writing for puppet theatre jointly funded by Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and Arts Council England. High professional level of tutors and attendees.
  • 'Puppet Theatre 84'

    • 1984 saw the second major international puppetry festival all over London and with spin-off shows by companies from abroad in many regions. 'Puppet Theatre 84'

    1984

  • A year of intense activity

    • A year of intense activity. The centre is now funded by the Arts Council of Great Britain, Inner London Education Authority (ILEA), Greater London Council, Wandsworth Borough Council, The British Council, Television Fund. 
    • Project funding comes from the Greater London Arts Association, The Gulbenkian Foundation, The Crafts Council, The Chase Charity. 
    • Staffing: General Secretary (part-time), Administrator (full-time), Technical Officer (part-time), Administration Assistant (part-time), Education Officer (full-time). This post was suspended when Manpower Services funding ceased, but alternative funding offered by the ILEA ensured a replacement in August 1983 
    • Publications of four instructional leaflets
    • Professional development bursary (3rd year). Regular frequent courses, masterclasses (13), workshops
    • Exhibition ‘The Art Of Lotte Reiniger’, puppets and puppetry, travelling exhibition venues from Scotland to the south of England
    • Planning underway for a second major international festival to be held in 1984 in London and beyond
    • Help services to professionals on all aspects of their work. Puppet Centre is by now able to put them in touch with experts of all kinds. Indirectly the work of the centre is responsible for the manifest increase in employment opportunities for professionals. Information and study facilities are offered to a constant stream of visitors and correspondents. 
    • Wellington Street premises – Puppet Centre’s proposal is deemed acceptable to the GLC and the Covent Garden committee. Fundraising is initiated for the project
  • Keep on funding

    • Arts Council, after representation from the Puppet Centre which argues that its services are vital to the sector and irreplaceable without funding, decides to continue its revenue grant
    • Education Officer in great demand and the EP Unit is able to achieve many objectives only possible with a full-time appointment
    • Friends of the Puppet Centre scheme introduced
    • Puppet Centre initiates talks with British Actors’ Equity Association to secure puppeteers’ status and protection as theatre artists
    • ‘Animations’ doubles its number of pages
    • ‘Directory of Professional Puppeteers’ (5th edition) published
    • Video library introduced with permanent loan of a camera, recorder and monitor. Minibus acquired, donated from the ITV Telethon Fund, ‘Thames Help Trust’. Puppet Centre now able to transport materials for workshops and exhibitions etc, around Britain. Second grant from the Crafts Advisory Committee to commission a second set of figures for the travelling exhibition 
    • Exhibition ‘Puppets and Puppetry’ at Battersea Library
    • Feasibility study funded by puppeteers for the use of the premises as a national centre owned by the GLC in Wellington Street, Covent Garden
    • Professional development bursary scheme (2nd year)
  • Puppet Centre remains open

    • BAC forced to close but Puppet Centre remains open with a separate side entrance to the building 
    • Puppeteers’ Day inaugurated as an annual forum for social networking and professional debate
    • Education and Therapy Unit holds open meetings at London Drama and Tape Centre where there is now a Puppet Centre Resource Centre
    • Staffing - Education Officer appointed (full-time)
    • Two bursaries for further professional development by experienced puppeteers established; funded by Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and the Arts Council Great Britain to be administered by the Puppet Centre. Funding now also received from The Television Fund
    • ‘Animations’ is now well established and respected internationally. Reviews of productions introduced to encourage serious criticism
    • Directory of Professional Puppeteers’ (4th edition) published
  • Education and Therapy Unit

    • Federation with the Educational Puppetry Association which becomes the Education and Therapy Unit of the Puppet Centre
    • Staffing - Administrator (full-time); General Secretary (part-time) 
    • ‘Directory of Professional Puppeteers’ (3rd edition) published
    • ‘How To Run A Puppet Workshop’ (booklet by the education unit) published
    • Travelling exhibition - first stage completed with grant aid from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and the Crafts Advisory Committee
    • International festival ‘Puppet Theatre 79’ organised in close collaboration with the Puppet and Model Theatre Guild and UNIMA. Staged in venues throughout London and with widespread peripheral regional events. 50,000 people attended the performances and exhibitions. It promoted a strong image of contemporary puppet theatre and enjoyed extensive press coverage
  • From strength to strength

    • Puppet Centre is now firmly established in Britain and abroad as the national reference centre for all aspects of puppetry
    • Puppet Centre is invited as an official representative of British puppet theatre to the Royal Palace in Amsterdam on the occasion of the Erasmus Awards, that year given to a small number of outstanding puppet companies
    • ‘Animations’ – a review of puppets and related theatre (bi-monthly magazine) first published in December 1977
    • ‘Puppets and Therapy’ (book) published with plays including ‘In New York’. Book sales introduced
    • ‘Directory of Professional Puppeteers’ (2nd edition) published. Workshops include a holiday week in collaboration with BAC

    1978

  • Exceeds all our hopes

    • ‘…a wonderful centre that exceeds all our hopes…’ Geoggrey Hodson, Inner London Education Authority (ILEA) Senior Inspector for Drama
    • ‘…we do receive wonderful co-operation from the Puppet Centre, whose aim it is to give help wherever it can in all fields of puppetry. The centre has helped us repeatedly…’ Jan Bussell, President of UNIMA (Union Internationale de la Marionnette)
    • Advisory work was undertaken during 1977 (including for Arts Council Great Britain and the British Council). Invitations to represent puppet theatre on the boards/committees of International Association of Theatres for Children and Young People (ASSITEJ), NCTYP, GLAA and London Drama
    • Master classes and after-school workshops were initiated. The festival, ‘Puppets Plus’, for London schools and colleges began, culminating in an exhibition and performances at County Hall

    1977

    British UNIMA

     

  • Festival of puppets

    • Grant Aid received from the Arts Council Great Britain (ACGB), the Greater London Arts Association, the British Council, the Greater London Council, the Inner London Education Authority (ILEA) and Wandsworth Borough. Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation funding continues
    • Crafts Advisory Committee funds the commissioning of exemplary puppet figures from the most excellent puppet craftsmen/women, for exhibition, demonstration and practice
    • Staffing - Organising Secretary (full-time), Administration Assistant and Technical/Workshop Officer (part-time). Showcase performances initiated
    • A festival of puppets was created in collaboration with BAC (performances, exhibition, workshops, etc). Puppet Centre also organised an exhibition in Sadler’s Wells’ foyer called ‘Puppets – A Theatre Art’. Plans now begin to get underway for a touring exhibition
    • The ‘Directory of Professional Puppeteers’ (1st edition) was published by Puppet Centre and circulated to potential bookers
    • A festival of puppets was created in collaboration with BAC (performances, exhibition, workshops, etc). Puppet Centre also organised an exhibition in Sadler’s Wells’ foyer called ‘Puppets – A Theatre Art’. Plans now begin to get underway for a touring exhibition
  • Staffing and courses

    • During 1975 Puppet Centre developed its internal framework, and created a number of workshops and courses
    • Staffing - Organising Secretary, Penny Francis (full-time) and Administrative Secretary Gillie Robic (part-time). The Gulbenkian insisted that the staff were paid
    • Courses initiated - Adult education (2 evenings a week); Weekend puppetry in education and/or special needs courses; Weekend specialist aspects (e.g. Manipulation); Occasional seminars and special evenings; Schools workshops Family workshops

    1975

  • First funding

    • Puppet Centre's first funding was received from Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation for 3 years’ centre management
    • Funding was also received from Inner London Education Authority (ILEA), Greater London Council (GLC) and Wandsworth Borough Council
    • Reference and study facilities were established. The library consisted of the educational puppetry association collection, the Erwin Hauser collection (donated by his widow), Wandsworth Borough Library’s small specialist collection
    • Arts Council of Great Britain announces for the first time recognition of puppetry as a theatre art worthy of funding: ‘the establishment and success of the trust was a major factor in the change of Arts Council policy’ Sir Hugh Willatt, Secretary General, ACGB
  • BAC opens its doors

    • Official opening of Battersea Community Arts Centre and the Puppet Centre by Hugh Jenkins, minister for the arts
    • Previous to this in 1965 Battersea Borough was absorbed into Wandsworth and the building was threatened with demolition. Plans were drawn up by the new council to build a library and a swimming pool in its place. A local campaign was formed to save the building, resulting in a Grade II* listing and a new community arts centre. In 1980 Jude Kelly became the first Artistic Director of BAC. Jude believed that when you are working in a space that has a human history, it is important to engage with that past and to treat the building with authenticity: ‘In an historical context your obligation is to pick up the ropes of the previous generation, where they have laid down ideas and struggled to change. Your obligation is to keep that going.’ Jude Kelly
  • The arrival of Puppet Centre Trust

    • Puppet Centre Trust was established as a charitable unincorporated association, with a council and executive committee. Membership of the trust, council and the executive committee reads like a who’s who of British puppetry 
    • All puppetry organisations were represented; the Educational Puppetry Association (EPA), The British Puppet and Model Theatre Guild, British UNIMA, the Punch and Judy Fellowship and Wandsworth Council including the 12 signatories, 'Directors', at the setting-up of the centre constitution, all were council members and some became executive committee members; David Currell (our chair for many years afterwards), Brian Cook, Maurice Stewart, John Blundall, Ray Dasilva, Brian Beckman (lawyer who drew up the constitution), Gordon Deaville, Carol Crowther-Dewhurst, John Thirtle, George Speaight, A.R. Philpott, Mary Wolf, Penny Francis

FAQs

What does Puppet Centre do?

We are a development agency for the art form of puppetry. We help champion puppetry to funders, venue managers and other stakeholders, we provide opportunities for puppeteers to connect, to gain skills, to engage in critical debate, and we are an information hub for puppetry.

Do you produce work?

No. Puppet Centre is a development agency rather than a producing company.

Where are you based?

We make our home at Battersea Arts Centre at the top of Lavender Hill in south west London.

Do you have puppets there?

The Puppet Centre recently bequeathed its puppet collection to the National Puppetry Archive where it can be seen at Bridgnorth, Shropshire, by appointment. Please telephone the administrator to fix an appointment with the collection manager. 

Do you have a mailing list?

We do! We send out a very informative e-newsletter once a month. If you would like to sign up to it please add your email address into the box in the footer of the website. If you would like to see previous newsletters please see the links section below.

Can you help us find a puppeteer/puppet maker?

We will always try to help if you are looking for either and have lots of artists we can suggest. It is always good to try the excellent resource on the Puppeteers UK (PUK) website first though.

Do you recommend amateur puppeteers?

No. All our contacts are professional.

Can we meet you for advice?

Absolutely. Drop us a line and we can arrange a visit. Please let us know what you need help with and make sure you’ve had a look at our website first. We offer career and development advice. 

Do you have a library?

Our extensive reference library is available at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in Swiss Cottage, North West London. Appointments need to be made at least 24 hours in advance by contacting the librarian on 020 7559 3942 or 020 7722 8183.

We have a show, can a reviewer from Animations Online make it?

Please send any details of puppetry shows to Helen Babbs, the Editor, with details of run dates and times and a reviewer will endeavor to attend.

Can I become a reviewer for Animations Online?

If you are interested in reviewing for our web magazine Animations Online, please get in touch by emailing animationsonline@puppetcentre.org.uk

We have a workshop, can you help us promote it?

We share a lot of information on Twitter and Facebook so please send us through information on your workshop that's ready to post and we'll share it with our networks. 

Can you link to my puppetry website?

We have a list of links. This is a carefully compiled list of puppetry related organisations. We will not add any links to inappropriate websites.

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