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[pictures above] Nutmeg Puppet Company, Obelon Arts The Singing Storycloth, Moving Stage and Freehand Theatre

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Small Beginnings

Small Beginnings community arts group are about to launch their Tall Tales Project, funded by Awards for All. The project will enable young people to try their hand at designing and building a series of community puppets and props. The set of large processional puppets, representing the town and figures from the 1457 siege of Sandwich, will accompany the town's giant at community events. They will make their first outing at the town's medieval celebrations in August 2006.

Ten Tall Tales workshops are currently being held on Tuesday afternoons at the Sandwich Technology School, and are open to young people aged 11 +. For more information contact James and Sonia of Small Beginnings on 01304 617335 or email

Norwich Puppet Theatre

Norwich Puppet Theatre is one only two dedicated puppet theatre's in England. The Theatre's own company performs regularly at the venue and on tour.  They recently took their production of Jack & the Beanstalk  to the Mukamas Festival in Tampere, Finland.

The Summer programme of activities at Norwich Puppet Theatre brings workshops and shows galore - from Tom Thumb to George and the Dragon, and Fish's Wishes to Little Red Riding Hood, with the main summer season filled with performances of Emperor's New Clothes. Workshops for children plus a session for adults in July complement the programme. For further information email  Full details of all events are available on the Norwich Puppet Theatre website

On the Other Hand - Ken Haines

The Henry VIII Show, which has just received an Arts Council Grant, features one king, six queens and a dog called Stanley! The company's new show premiered at Central Studio, Basingstoke in April 2006.  This unique show tells Henry VIII's story in his own words, with the ghosts of his Queens and principal courtiers., coming back to haunt him. Oh and his dog gets in on the act too… The show features two actors, a host of puppets, specially composed music and stunning historically accurate costumes. It is vividly entertaining with a mixture of high drama and low comedy. It's primarily aimed at schools but the company are also now receiving bookings from venues. See

Pickled Image - in Norway.

Pickled Image have just returned from a six week residency at the Norland Visual Theatre in Stamsund on the lofoten Islands off the North West coast of Norway, where they built Houdini's Suitcase, a full length theatre show for adults. The show is about the memories of an old time entertainer and one time apprentice to Harry Houdini and contains a cast of eccentric characters and heartrending moments of beauty and comedy. The show has been directed by Emma Lloyd of Stickleback Plasticus. Houdini's Suitcase was premiered on the 28th of April to great praise and returned to Stamsund for their international theatre festival in June. The company will then be performing it at the this year's Festival Mondial des Théâtres de Marionnettes in Charleville on 20 September  following their family show The Chatterbox on the 19th. They don't stop there either! On 21-22 Sept they will be performing around the town with the Marvellous Box of Peeps & Delights. They will be touring The Chatterbox in venues around the UK through the Autumn & Winter, before taking Houdini's Suitcase on the road in 2007.


Movingstage, operators of a marionette theatre on a converted eighty-ton river barge, will be touring the river, for the 24th year in succession, from July to October 2006. They will present a matinee show, Brer Rabbit and the Tarbaby, plus on Saturday evenings Bottom's Dream by Shakespeare. Following the tour the barge will be moored at Little Venice in central London. The season will open with a special Xmas and New Year production, Joey's Circus Comes to Town starring Punch and friends, especially written for Movingstage by Glyn Edwards. The year 2007 sees our 25th anniversary and we shall be mounting an adult season in London, in conjunction with the Joseph Conrad Society, of Out of the Heart of Darkness. Details of performances and the company can be found at:

Josh Elwell's Bird in the Hand - a true story of the Victorian Circus

Roll Up! Roll Up! Step right this way! Josh Elwell and Company present

a merry carnival of comical cockatoos! Josh & Co are really pleased to have been awarded a grant from ACE for their new project Bird in the Hand. The show will be based on the true story of Josh's great- grandmother-in-law who travelled with Barnum & Bailey in the early 1900s with her act Irma Orbasany and her performing Cockatoos! The show will be in the style of the Victorian sideshow and will be directed by renowned puppeteer Martin Bridle of Hand to Mouth. Puppets will be made by Rebecca Elwell and Nino Namitcheishvili from The Basement Theatre Tiblisi Georgia. Nino will be working in England over the summer both on this project and with Lost and Found. Music will be written and performed by Jeremy Avis from The Shout. This exciting new collaboration will be touring arts centres, theatres and village halls from the autumn. A full list of venues will be posted on the website

Freehand Theatre

Freehand Theatre's production for 3 to 7 year olds, Little Red You-Know-Who, has been travelling far and wide and highlights include a week in August at the Little Angel Marionette Theatre, performances at the Dublin International Puppetry Festival in September and shows at the Take Off Festival in October. For this production the company collaborated with composer Hugh Nankivell to create a beautiful sound score. The use of natural wood combined with the vivid qualities of the colour red provides the visual aesthetic. Following a period of Research and Development funded by the Arts Council, which has enabled Lizzie Allen and Simon Hatfield to take time to explore fresh possibilities for their work, the company will soon begin work on a new production.

For further information see Freehand Theatre's recently launched website

Object Dart

Objects Dart's new show The Enormous Turnip has now been running for a month very successfully and was recently performed at the Bruton Arts Festival to a sold-out house, alongside Objects Dart's ever-green Little Red Riding Hood, now in its fourth year and as captivating to the audience as it was when first performed in 2002/2003 in Lambeth and at the Little Angel Theatre. They also ran two very successful workshops around operating/bringing to life your puppet/object and also exploring shadow puppets. Future plans-for the summer: Objects Dart are doing Punch and Judy around

London's green spaces (new show) and are planning a nativity play for

Christmas which will be made and designed by Drew Colby and Michele

Petit-Jean of Magic Book, and is inspired by the shadow-puppet-like effect of stained glass windows, but may also incorporate glove puppets.

Nutmeg Puppet Company's award for show for Elders

Nutmeg have received £5000 from Awards for All towards producing a new show designed specially for older people, to tour residential homes & rural venues in East Anglia. It's based on the life of John Knowlittle, a naturalist, showman and journalist, who combined a love and understanding of the natural world with showmanship & artistic skills. The story is about observation, and how to cope with the loss or impairment of the senses. The soundtrack will include birdsong, children's voices, songs & natural sounds of the marshes. We will offer accompanying practical activities and there will be a booklet of the show. They also touring Heatwave, a show about climate change, to outdoor venues in the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads this summer, and in schools in the autumn.This has been funded by the Broads Authority Sustainable Development Fund with a grant from DEFRA. For further information, contact the company. Tel: (01502) 478999 email See   

Nathan Evans

Nathan is the creator of HEAVEN KNOWS I'M MISERABLE NOW - a musical inspired by the songs of The Smiths for casio-keyboard and puppets - WOW! - a recreation with puppets of Kate Bush's last live gig -  ROCK'N'ROLL SUICIDE - the puppetry promo Bowie never made - PUNCH & JUDE - a new take on the puppetry classic for homosexual boys and girls - and RATHER BE DEAD THAN GAY - an ironic look at gay culture through his own sexual and romantic disasters - and ALIENATHAN. His latest is ATOMIC (or Love Is So Confusing) - a spectacular on a shoestring with big blonde ambitions - created in collaboration with Polly Wiseman. We've had Abba, The Musical, we've had Madness, The Musical, we've even had Rod Stewart, The Musical, and now we bring you Blondie, The Musical! Atomic is a story of sexual discovery set against the backdrop of Punk Rock and New York City.

ATOMIC premieres as part of Outbites, Oval House, 52-54 Kennington Oval, London SE11 on 5 July. Nathan then tours  internationally (Barcelona, LA, Texas, Suffolk!) throughout the summer with ROCK'N'ROLL SUICIDE and PUPPETRY OF THE POPS. ATOMIC can be seen this coming autumn at  Duckie, The Royal Vauxhall Tavern, London SE11 on 18 Nov 11pm For full details see

BlueBoat commissioned to make Spookmaster

BlueBoat has been commissioned by Southampton Live to create a unique, small-scale, outdoor storytelling performance, Spookmaster which will premiere at the Southampton Live Street Theatre Festival on the 22 July 2006. Set in a spooky, Gothic mausoleum, the participants will enter a theatrical 'coffin'  which is in fact a miniature performance space designed for an audience of one. Inside the participant will be told a supernatural story through the use of soundscape, miniature puppet worlds and animated sculptural elements. The performance is aiming to create a modern twist on side-show scary rather than being truly frightening! Above all, BlueBoat wants a performance that's intriguing for the onlookers and for those who enter, a darkly humorous combination of storytelling, puppetry and animation. BlueBoat was established in 1999, directed by Mark Pen?ak with design by Eliza Gilchrist, BlueBoat makes performances that have a strong sense of story combined with visual elements such as puppets, film and specially constructed props, sets and effects. Email See

Lost & Found Theatre

Lost & Found Theatre presents The Lost Moon, which is based on an old folk tale from the Lincolnshire Fens. Written and performed by Mandy Travis; directed by Nino Namitcheishvili; live music composed and performed by Hannah Marshall.

The Lost Moon features puppetry, performance and live music devised originally by members of The Little Angel Theatre who created Jabberwocky and The Mouse Queen, now in collaboration with Nino Namitcheishvili, founder member of The Georgian Puppeteers' Club at The Basement Theatre in Tbilisi, Georgia. Mandy Travis and Nino Namitcheishvili are now working on the final production of The Lost Moon, which will premiere at the Mill Studio, Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford on 31 August, then tour to various venues in September and October including The Nightingale, Brighton The Lighthouse in Poole and Tower Arts Centre in Winchester. It then has a run at The Little Angel Theatre, London, 10-28 October.

Mandy has written about the creation of this show in her > From the Frontline artist's diary in this e-dition of Animations!

Target audience: 10+ to adult; running time: 1hr - no interval

For further information, contact Tamsin Thomas, administrator on 07742 611634. Email

For more information on the company see



More Lilliputian Memories, Please!

The National Trust's Museum of Childhood, at Sudbury Hall in Derbyshire, is looking for more information about Edward Hellawell's marionettes.  He donated a large collection when the Lilliput Marionette Theatre finished, but, till now, very few have been out on display However, the Museum is now planning a major re-design of their display in 2007 that will include more of the marionettes, in a section on Stories and Rhymes. To this end they are looking for as much information as possible about the stories and the characters of the plays performed. Besides Lilliput's Faust, Christmas Carol, Little Mermaid, Lost Princess and Hansel and Gretel, there are also characters that Edward Hellawell may have made to perform elsewhere. Any information given to the Trust already will, of course, have been recorded. But the research team is now hoping to find much more. If there is anyone who thinks that they can remember details of the stories and might be able to identify puppets in the Trust's collection, please contact: Helen Subden, Documentation Assistant (Curatorial Team) Tel: 01283 585337 or Email


Obelon Arts The Singing Storycloth

Obelon Arts' latest project is a book for 3-7+ year olds and their teachers: The Singing Storycloth - song-stories from around the world with activities for puppetry and music. This book, which Obelon have been working on over the last year, has just been published by A&C Black  (ISBN 0-7136-7193-9). It's a resource for primary school teachers and children. The company worked with international storyteller Helen East, who sourced tales and songs from around the world which would be suitable both for a book and for puppetry performance. The book consists of eight stories, each with accompanying activities for puppetry and music written by Liz Waugh McManus and Janet Koralambe of Obelon. The book has been designed so that teachers may use the stories, music and puppetr independently or combine them into a performance by the children. The theme of fabric is central to the tales from Nigeria, Scotland, India, China, America, Zimbabwe, Mexico and Lithuania.  Included in the book are two audio CDs with the stories and the songs. Five of the stories from the book appear in Obelon's latest show, also called The Singing Storycloth, which is touring theatres and schools. Schools have already used the show to launch cross-curricular projects using the book.

For further information see  and

The Scottish Mask and Puppet Centre

if you are looking for puppet books, don't forget to visit the online bookshop at A new addition to their children's books is Puppetry - Discovering Other Cultures by Meryl Doney. This is a delightful children's book which shows how to make simple puppets inspired from puppets around the world.

 Scottish Mask and Puppet Centre

 8-10 Balcarres Ave,


 Glasgow G12 0QF

 Tel. 0141 339 6185



Intensive in Advanced Model Making at Rose Bruford

Calling all designers, animators and other industry professionals! Rose Bruford College in Sidcup is pleased to offer a five-day intensive course in Advanced Model Making this summer. The course will be led by David Neat, a professional model maker with 23 years experience in theatre, film, 3D design, architecture and exhibitions. He is also a practicing sculptor and qualified teacher, including at Rose Bruford College and Wimbledon School of Art where he teaches on the Technical Arts and Special Effects and Set Design for Stage and Screen courses. The course will run from Monday 10th July to Friday 15th July 2006. The course will cost £80 per person plus a small surcharge of £10 for the provision of materials to be used in the practical exercises.  This makes an overall total of £90 per person. For more details or to reserve a place, email

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