Hello from the new Director of the Puppet Trust Centre (PCT) – Linda Lewis
I took up my position as Director of PCT at the beginning of October and I am delighted to have this opportunity to continue working with the development of the puppetry artform, puppeteers, puppet companies, and artists who would like to develop their puppetry skills.
My interest and commitment to puppetry began nearly 20 years ago when I was Drama Officer at Arts Council SE, and was allocated responsibility for puppetry, along with new writing, and new circus, as well as theatre. This responsibility coincided with the publication of ‘On The Brink of Belonging’ by The Gulbenkian Foundation in the early 1990s.
I identified partners at the University of Brighton to set up an innovative festival called visions which brought in shows from abroad and showcased the best of British puppetry. We also set up a puppeteers’ network for the region. Several years down the line, I was invited to take over the role of Director of the visions festival which was both an artistic and critical success.
My work as a theatre manager, a programmer and a freelance producer has enabled me to present puppetry and work with new companies in a mentoring role.
More recently I have been involved with PCT as a member of the bursary panel where I was excited by the wealth and diversity of ideas and creativity within puppetry in the UK
PCT now has a very clear role as an advocate, a development agency, and as a lobbying agency for the artform of puppetry in England. This moment in time is serendipitous for us to be actively developing puppetry.
PCT will be setting up development initiatives in partnership with theatres and organisations around the country. We will be offering travel and development bursaries for artists and companies; a mentoring scheme; organising training days in different regions of the country; and delivering a large conference next year.
We will continue to publish our regular quarterly magazine Animations Online and the new year will see a further edition (volume 4) of the excellent Animations in Print – a Review of Puppetry and Related Arts.
These are opportune and exciting times for puppetry.
My first event – a symposium on Puppetry in the UK – will take place during the Suspense Festival at the Little Angel Theatre on Wednesday 4 November at 3-5pm. I do hope you will be able to join us in the discussion about where puppetry is today and where you think it is heading.
The panel chaired by Professor Anthony Dean will include Simon Hart (Puppet Animation, Scotland); Clive Chandler (PuppeteersUK); Joy Haynes (Norwich Puppet Theatre); Alison Duddle (Horse and Bamboo); Rachel McNally (REM Projects Bristol/Puppet Place); and Helen Hodge (Blind Summit).
I look forward to seeing you there.
If you would like to talk to me about any of our proposed initiatives, please contact me by e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone – 0207 228 5335.
We also have a new Administrator – Emma Leishman – who is available on 0207 228 5335 or email@example.com
Looking forward to hearing from you
Puppet Centre Trust