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Puppet Centre Trust Update
- Spring 2004
Spring is in the air at the Puppet Centre: a time for new growth and new beginnings. After the dark winter months of planning and plotting we're now happy to bring you news of some of the new initiatives the Centre, with the help of ACE, have in the pipeline for 2004.

First, we're very pleased to be back online, with Animations Online now programmed as a bi-monthly e-publication under the watchful eye of editor Dorothy Max Prior and her tech team at Aurelius Arts. Many of you have missed Animations over the past four years and we want to build AO to be a similar intelligent voice for the sector, a place for you to keep up with one another's news and views, for critical debate and analysis of recent puppet shows across the UK and for everything else you want it to be. This means we want to hear your news and views! We welcome all feedback and strongly encourage any of you who are interested to take up your pens (or, indeed, keyboards) and write to us with your thoughts on puppetry, reviews of shows and news from your companies. Details of our editorial policy are available from the Puppet Centre or through AO via

so get writing!

Meanwhile, at the Centre our ACE-funded organisational review and redevelopment plans continue. John Sharples, appointed lead advisor of this process last November, is a specialist arts consultant with previous assignments including work for ACE, Greenwich University and the National Foundation for Youth Music. Beccy Smith has been working as project manager, after a year of administration at the Centre, now using her City background and theatre and community experience to help bring JohnÕs plans to fruition. Current plans are focussing around a number of projects over the next two years to provide training and continuing professional development for puppeteers and to encourage art form development of puppetry and object theatre in the UK. Forward planning is focussed on producing a long-term business plan for the PCT consolidating our role as the national development agency for the artform in the UK. We'll keep you updated as our plans evolve over the coming months.

In January we were very pleased to organise and host the seminar Sourcing Funding for Puppetry and Object Theatre, aiming to provide advice and insight from ACE alongside a successfully funded puppetry-led company for practitioners at all stages of their careers. Sue Buckmaster of theatre-rites and Denise Jones from ACE expertly fielded questions on all aspects of funding puppetry work of every kind in the UK. Click here [link to PCT seminar report page in this newsletter] for a report of the seminar and its key tips and ideas for all those who weren't able to make it on the day. Alternatively, copies of the report are available by post from PCT. Please send an addressed label or A4 envelope and 50 pence-worth of stamps to cover photocopying, paper and postage.

We feel this event represents a positive statement from ACE in its support of puppetry and related work - see also our Noticeboard for recent grants to puppetry companies - and our feedback from the assembled party of 30 practitioners was unanimously excellent. We hope to be seeing some of the advice bear fruit on stages across the country soon!

Finally, the work of our bursary recipients has gotten underway with the New Year. Ramon Abad has initiated his work creatively combining shadow puppetry with new technology through consultations with several new technology artists, workshops in mime, movement and visual IT programmes. He has also started to plan his mentorship period with Sue Buckmaster of theatre-rites. Mervyn Millar is currently in South Africa working with Handspring on the development period of their new show Girafe. He spent January working at the National Theatre directing and making their young peoples' show The Wonderful Life and Miserable Death of the Renowned Magician Dr Faustus.

Animations Online is an important part of PCT's redevelopment and a means for us and you to keep in touch with all those interested or involved in puppetry in the UK. I will be updating this page regularly with news from the Puppet Centre as our plans for our new activities come together over the next few months, and remember we want to hear all about yours! We are currently updating all of our networks at the centre and so if your contact details have changed, or if you know of someone new who would like to be in touch with us, please drop us a line. Wishing you all a warm and fruitful spring-time!

Beccy Smith, Project Manager, PCT.

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