The Course


Steve Tiplady, Indefinite Article

Our eight-week intensive course will be back from 16 January – 11 March 2023 offering an entirely hands-on experience to operating and creating work:


This course teaches operating practice through exploratory modules (see below). Participants will get to grips with a range of techniques and puppet types focusing on key aspects of performance, including components of rhythm, atmospheric impulse,  scale and perspective, movement and character.


Professional practitioners will support the creation of exploratory work and consider how we read what we see, develop narrative structure, visual storytelling, words and puppets and production for puppet theatre.


The course is accompanied by an evening programme of theatre visits, presentations, discussions and networking opportunities designed to enrich, inform, inspire and broaden horizons.

Movement into Animation – TRAINING THE PUPPETEER

What the puppeteer does to bring a puppet/object to life – with Rene Baker


  • the puppeteer’s body; exercise for strength, flexibility and responsiveness.
  • the puppeteer’s mind; allowing the object to come to life; concentration and the ability to project energy through an external object
  • the neutral puppeteer; giving focus to the puppet
  • the puppeteer-performer-actor; shifting focus and presence between performer and object
  • gaze and peripheral vision
  • rhythm
  • coordination


The underlying principles of three person puppet animation

with Mervyn Millar


  • Use structured play and improvisation to expand your awareness in performance
  • Work in groups to imbue thought, emotion and physics into a single puppet
  • Tuning in to breath and impulse to respond as one


What the puppet/object does to convey the illusion of life – with Rene Baker


How to make the puppet appear to think, feel and act as an “alive” being.

  • when movement becomes animation
  • working with the puppet’s intrinsic qualities to discover its character
  • impulse, weight, gravity, balance
  • eye-line and focus
  • using breath, rhythm, gesture to show the puppet’s thoughts, intentions, emotions, attitudes
  • action-reaction


An exploratory workshop with Steve Tiplady


Working with light source and shadow, materials and body Steve explores the structure of a narrative and offers a frame work for abstract images to share meaning


This module will give students the opportunity to experiment with the use of puppets and objects in whatever way they wish, opening our exploration of the form to individual expression and content and making use of the Curious collection of puppets and curiousities.


with Mike Shepherd, Kneehigh Theatre


More information coming soon!


led by Sarah Wright with guest specialists


Traditional puppet techniques are of great value to us when inventing new forms of expression on the puppet stage. By studying puppet types from different ages and from different cultures we will expand our knowledge of the puppet and its potential!

Each Monday we will take time to look into a puppet form: Glove, Rod, Table top, Marionette and Object with a hands-on approach and a bit of research study to inspire and inform.


with Anna Maria Murphy


Anna looks at and experiments with:
How puppets might speak – Looking at dialogue and poetry.
Voice-over and narration, found sound.
How stories, words, poetry can be the genesis of devising, character and scenes, then disappear.
Chorus and choruses.