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A Letter from PCT Director Linda Lewis

I have been reviewing the first half of the year during which we have presented two very successful ‘How to Book a Tour’ sessions at BAC and West Yorkshire Playhouse, both delivered by Mark Makin.

We also had a wonderful inspiring three-day practical workshop from Matt Jackson on how to mould and make rubber heads for puppets (images are on our Facebook page).
It is hard to believe we are now halfway through 2011.

The Puppet Centre has been planning its autumn programme and planning for next year. We have secured some highly skilled workshop leaders to give artists really enriching and talent-building experiences through our ‘RE: Charge’ programme of artform based workshops.

Mandinga Arts will run a two day workshop on ‘Making Puppets for the Outdoors’ looking at scale, materials, design, lighting and articulation of these puppets.
Dates: 19 and 20 November 2011
Venue: Mandinga Studios at 97 Atkins Road, London SW12
Charles Beauchamp and Julieta Rubio, artistic directors of Mandinga Arts, have a great deal of expertise between the two of them with some of their recent projects including participation in the Mayor's Thames Festival Night Parade for the last thirteen years, both prior to and after the formation of Mandinga Arts Ltd, and taking part in Notting Hill Carnival from 1987 to 2004.
Among other projects, Mandinga is currently working on Interwoven, an EU Culture Programme funded project between UK, Spain and Bulgaria which aims to engage rural communities in the arts.
In 2012 Mandinga Arts will play a pivotal role in 2012 Cultural Olympiad project Night of Festivals which will see an impressive carnival parade in Nottingham in June and in Leicester during the July Games Opening weekend.

Handspring Puppet Theatre Company will be leading workshops at BAC during the week of 26 September and at the University of  Winchester during that week.  All dates and times tbc soon.

Quite a feast of opportunities to develop your puppetry skills.

We have also been working with UK Arts International to organise the workshop programme which is accompanying the national tour of Handspring Puppet Theatre’s production of Woyzeck.
Workshops led by artists who have worked with Handspring in the UK will be taking place at The Barbican, London on 10 and 11 September as part of the Week-end Workout; Warwick Arts Centre on Saturday 15 October; Wales Millennium Centre 25 October; Aberystwyth Arts Centre 28 October; and Hall for Cornwall, Truro 31 October. Details of these workshops are available from each venue.

For further information on the tour of Woyzeck visit

On Saturday 27 August, I will be speaking at ‘The Puppet Network’ about what Puppet Centre can offer at the Bristol Festival of Puppetry, at 10am at The Brewery. We have also assisted in programming a workshop, ‘Hands Off’, by Nenagh Watson at 3pm on that day. The Bristol Festival of Puppetry runs 26 August – 4 September. for the full programme.

Puppet Centre has also been involved in the planning for the Suspense Festival and will be presenting two events:

On Wednesday 2 November we will be presenting a Directors’ Forum during which directors who have included puppetry in their productions will be speaking about how they engage with the artform as well as directors of puppetry shows. So far we have directors from Glasgow, New York and Tbilisi confirmed.

And to round off this great programme of workshops PCT in collaboration with Marjanishvili Theatre from Tbilisi will present a workshop on ‘How to Work as an Ensemble in Puppetry’, where master Georgian puppeteer Nino Namicheishvili will be joined by members of the company to demonstrate the intense teamwork that goes into every gesture.
Date: Sunday 6 November from 1-5pm.
Venue: Jacksons Lane

To book for any of these workshops, please contact and for all Suspense events, please contact Little Angel Box office on 020 7226 1787.

Finally, Puppet Centre has been working with British UNIMA compiling a brochure which lists many of the British companies who are interested in touring abroad. The publication will be launched at the Charleville festival in September. For further information on the Charleville Festival, which is the international event for puppetry – the ‘Edinburgh Festival for puppetry’ – visit

The publication will be available online at from September.

Without a doubt there is still a resurgence of interest in puppetry and its use in mainstream theatre.  In the West End there is are new productions of Shrek and Betty Blue Eyes, bringing in new audiences along with War Horse and The Lion King.

Puppet Centre continues to provide you with opportunities for developing your talents, for networking and for accessing information about the puppetry scene in the UK.

So lots of opportunities for those interested in puppetry as a form of theatre as well as those employed in developing their puppetry skills.

I really hope you can make it to one or two of these great workshops. See you there!

Linda Lewis
August 2011

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