"Sarah Wright has assembled a stellar team of teachers, practitioners and leaders in their fields"
“I am delighted that The Curious School of Puppetry is making a dedicated commitment to maintaining and enhancing the quality of work by providing quality Training.“
"Curious School of Puppetry offers exceptional opportunities for those wanting to access training and professional development, which are relevant, respond directly to this need and are vitally important to the continuing growth of puppetry in England"
“The Curious School of Puppetry is contributing greatly to the enrichment of the art form.”
"Puppetry is vital to contemporary theatre and the training and the enabling of the next generation is to be celebrated!"
Sarah trained at the Little Angel Theatre and has worked extensively within physical and puppetry based theatre ever since! She is an Associate Artist with Kneehigh and LAT.
Puppet Direction includes: Kneehigh: The Tin Drum, Dead Dog in a Suitcase, Brief Encounter, Red Shoes, Hansel and Gretel, Wild Bride. Young Vic: The Life of Galileo, A Season in the Congo. Little Angel: Very Old Man with Enormous Wings, Angelo. Shakespeare’s Globe: The Little Matchgirl, Macbeth (dir. Iqbal Khan). RSC: The Empress, Tempest. Bath Theatre Royal: The Double. Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures: Sleeping Beauty. Silent Tide: Silent Tide, The Adventures of Curious Ganz.
As Puppeteer includes: LAT: Venus and Adonis, Very Old Man with Enormous Wings, The Little Mermaid. Kneehigh: The Tin Drum, Dead Dog in a Suitcase. Silo Theatre Amsterdam: The Tower, Planetarium Silo, Hotel. Faulty Optic/Invisible Thread: Fish Clay Perspex, Plucked, Les Hommes Vides. Improbable: Animo.
RENE BAKER Director and Teacher
Rene specialises in puppet and object theatre, with over 25 years professional practice as a performer, director, designer, researcher and pedagogue. She trained at the Little Angel Theatre (London) and from 1992-1998 was a core member of the creative team at Norwich Puppet Theatre (UK). 1998-2005 she taught puppet manipulation at the Central School of Speech and Drama (London) and 2005-2010 lectured in visual theatre and directed performances at the Institut del Teatre (Barcelona). 2010-2012 she was a full-time guest teacher in the puppetry and circus departments of the Turku Academy of Arts in Finland. Rene is currently working in the UK as a freelance director, trainer and coach in puppet and object theatre.
TOBY OLIÉ Puppet Director and Designer
Toby is a director, designer and performer who trained in puppetry at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. He is founder and co-artistic director of Gyre & Gimble, a theatre company specialising in puppetry.
Toby was a puppeteer of Joey in the original company of War Horse (National Theatre), on leaving the show as a performer in 2011 he was made an associate puppetry director.
He co-directed and designed the puppets for The Elephantom (National Theatre & West End) as well as creating puppetry for: The Light Princess (National Theatre), Disney’s new staging of The Little Mermaid (Holland, Moscow & Tokyo), Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Royal Ballet), Goodnight Mister Tom (West End & UK tour) and Running Wild (Chichester Festival Theatre).
LYNDIE WRIGHT MBE Designer and Maker of Puppets and Puppet Theatre
Lyndie founded the Little Angel Theatre with her husband John Wright in 1961. She still works in her workshop next door where she has designed and made world renowned puppets ever since.
For Little Angel: Venus and Adonis, Petrushka, Very Old Man with Enormous Wings, The Singing Mermaid, Paper Dolls, Cindermouse and Angelo. Kneehigh: The Tin Drum, Brief Encounter, Hansel and Gretel, Dead Dog in a Suitcase. Shakespeare’s Globe: The Little Matchgirl, A Midsummer Nights Dream. RSC: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Antony and Cleopatra, The Canterbury Tales.
Other Theatres includes Opera North: The Magic Flute. NT: Coram Boy. Polka Theatre: Paddington Bear, Stewart Little. Brandenberg Theatre, Germany: Tranquilla Trampeltreu.
MERVYN MILLAR – Director of Significant Object
Mervyn is a director and puppet designer. He was part of the original creative team of the National Theatre’s War Horse, also appearing at the NT and directing casts in London, New York, Toronto and Berlin. His work with puppets includes Circus 1903 (Southbank Centre, international tour); The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Birmingham Rep); Stiller (Residenz Munich); Appreciate (Paul McCartney); Crow (Handspring UK), and work for the RSC, Burgtheater Vienna, Schauspielhaus Zürich, NT Scotland, Opera National du Rhin, Lyric Hammersmith, Bristol Old Vic, and the Royal Court.
His books include Puppetry: How to Do It, The Horse’s Mouth, and The Journey of The Tall Horse. Awarded an Arts Foundation Fellowship 2010 for his work in puppetry.
ANNA MARIA MURPHY Artistic Director of the Story Republic
Anna is a long-term member of Kneehigh latterly as a writer including Red Shoes and Tristan and Yseult. Anna has written for C-scape Dance, Theatre Alibi, Rogue, BBC Radio 4 and scripted The Very Old Man With Enormous Wings for Little Angel Theatre.
Anna co-runs the Story Republic and Writing Squad Kernow and is lead artist on Kneehigh’s Rambles programme walking the road less travelled gathering stories new and old.
Howard has worked for over 25 years as a director, performer, playwright, and teacher specializing in Commedia dell’Arte and other forms of physical, mask and puppet theatre. He co-founded Ophaboom Theatre, England’s premier Commedia company, directing many of their shows and touring extensively in the U.K. and Europe including Venice Carnival; Almagro festival, Spain and National Theatre, outdoor summer festival.
He has also performed and directed shows at the Little Angel Theatre and Norwich Puppet Theatre. Directing at LAT includes: Musicans of Bremen, Selkie Bride, Romeo and Juliet and King Arthur.
Howard is a regular teacher at ESMAE Polytechnico Porto, Portugal, East 15 and Hope Street, Liverpool. He received an Art Council England Grant to study Native American masking traditions in Arizona.
Rachel Leonard has been performing with puppets for 21 years, predominantly with Marionettes, Rods, Shadows and Bunraku. She trained at the Little Angel Theatre and The Puppet Theatre Barge.
She is delighted by the telling and receiving of stories and is fascinated by the language of movement in all its tiny detail. Her work at Little Angel includes: The Journey Home, Sleeping Beauty in the Wood, Angelo, The Little Mermaid and many more. With Kneehigh: A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings and Rambles. With The RSC: Venus and Adonis, and with The National Theatre: War Horse. She has also directed puppetry for the RSC and New Perspectives Theatre Co, and collaborated with many theatre makers to help devise new puppetry work.
ANDREW KIM Co-Director Thingumajig Theatre
Andrew Kim is a puppet maker and performer based in West Yorkshire, England. He is a co-director of Thingumajig Theatre and the founder and former director or Handmade Parade. Andrew started in puppetry 30 years ago with Minneapolis’ In the Heart of the Beast Theatre and worked with Bread & Puppet and the Fremont Summer Solstice (Seattle) before moving to England.
Andrew has developed a specialty in giant puppets, lantern giant puppets, street theatre and community participatory spectacles. He is a recipient of a UNIMA-USA Citation of Excellence and his puppets have been seen in 18 countries, and several television programs and a Disney film.
RONNIE LE DREW
Ronnie Le Drew, has been a professional puppeteer for 51 years. He started at the age of 15 at The Little Angel Theatre where he worked with the founder director John Wright learning how to manipulate Marionettes, Rod, Glove and Shadow puppets. Ronnie has since toured the world with the company and directed numerous productions. Screen work includes Labyrinth and Two Muppet Movies with Jim Henson and Rainbow for Thames TV, in which he operated Zippy. He has taught puppetry at The Little Angel, The Norwich Puppet Theatre, The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and The London School of Puppetry of which he is now Patron.
Nandi studied at the Liverpool Institute of Performance Art and her performance work as a dancer, actor and puppeteer has spanned many countries, dance companies and theatres including the international tour of Bill T. Jones, Fela!, Vocab Dance Company, A Season in The Congo (Young Vic Theatre) and the film Cyrano both with director Joe Wright and Choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui.
Nandi’s theatre credits include Kneehigh: Ubu, 946 (Shakespeare’s Globe, UK tour), The Tin Drum (Liverpool Everyman/UK tour); Shakespeare’s Globe: Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and 5,6,7,8 (Royal Court)
MIKE SHEPHERD Kneehigh – Joint Artistic Director
Mike Shepherd started Kneehigh in 1980 and has worked almost exclusively for the company ever since. Mike is an actor, director and teacher and has an ongoing preoccupation with the conditions of creativity.
As well as touring the world as a Kneehigh actor, Mike runs the Rambles programme with Anna Maria Murphy, is director of Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs) which tours this year and is a pioneer of Kneehigh’s transformable and transportable venue, the Asylum.
STEVE TIPLADY Puppet Director and Performer
Steve formed Indefinite Articles with his partner, Sally Todd, in 1995 making theatre from objects and materials (Claytime) and for Opera Group’s The Firework Maker’s Daughter and John Adams’ El Nino.
As a performer Steve won an OBIE as part of the team that created Improbable Theatre’s 70 Hill Lane and Animo.
Steve was Artistic Director at the Little Angel Theatre where he directed twelve shows including Jabberwocky, Fantastic Mr Fox and The Mouse Queen.
He is an acclaimed freelance Puppet Director including: RSC Venus and Adonis, Midsummer Night’s Dream (Greg Doran), A Winter’s Tale (David Farr). Royal National Theatre Six Seeds. NT Wales The Dark Philosophers. NT Scotland Menage a Trois. The Globe Loves Labours Lost, Dr. Faustus. 360 Production’s Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe (Kensington Gardens)
LIZ WALKER Artist Director Invisible Thread
Liz Walker was a founding partner and joint Artistic Director of Faulty Optic.
She trained as a puppeteer at Little Angel Theatre and her interest in kinetic sculpture, 3D animation (especially the work of Jan Svankmajer and the Quay Brothers), dance and all things bizarre and surreal, combined to create a unique form of puppetry for adults, that has inspired many puppeteers and theatre practitioners working in the UK and abroad.
Liz created Invisible Thread in 2011 performing Fish, Clay, Perspex, Plucked – True Fairy Tale and Les Hommes Vides
Of Fish, Clay Perspex: “It boasts the best pincer-legged ballet by armless men on polystyrene that I’ve ever seen.” Time Out
Stan Middleton is a puppeteer, specializing in marionettes.
A third-generation marionettist, Middleton’s grandparents founded the Puppet Theatre Barge, based on the River Thames, in 1982. Since 2010, Middleton has toured across Europe and elsewhere with the London-based and award-winning String Theatre, founded and operated by Middleton and colleague Soledad Zarate.
Tobi Poster-Su is a UK-based theatremaker and scholar who specialises in puppetry and devised, crossdisciplinary work. His research centres on racialisation, animacy and material performance.
Tobi lectures at Bath Spa University and is currently undertaking an AHRC-funded PhD (Towards a Critical Puppetry: Racialisation and Material Performance in the Twenty-First Century) at Queen Mary University of London. He has published in Applied Theatre Research and Theatre Journal and delivered a plenary presentation at the ATHE 2020 Conference.
As co-artistic director of Wattle and Daub, Tobi has co-created and performed in The Depraved Appetite of Tarrare the Freak (2017) and Triptych (2011) and is currently developing Chang and Eng and Me (and Me), a new work exploring the lives of Chang and Eng Bunker and their complex relationship with race and privilege in the American South. He has directed puppetry for shows including Tom Morris’ adaptation of A Christmas Carol (2018) and Heidi: A Goat’s Tale (2012).
Avye trained at the Lecoq school in Paris (2005-7) and particularly enjoys combining acting with devising, movement and puppetry work.
She has acted and puppeteered in, amongst others, War Horse and Elephantom (National Theatre), Faeries (ROH), Brief Encounter (Kneehigh Theatre), A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings (Kneehigh and Little Angel), Something Very Far Away (Unicorn) and The Adventures of Curious Ganz (Silent Tide). Film includes working as movement artist and puppeteer on Gravity, Paddington, Pan, and as an actress and motion capture artist on Andy Serkis’ Jungle Book: Origins (all Warner Bros)
LUCINDA ALLEN BA Hons PGCE MA. Voice & Singing Consultant
Lucinda is a skilled practitioner in both the spoken and singing voice supported by her Distinction at Masters level in ‘The Practice of Voice and Singing’. She has worked with many accomplished and reputable individuals and organisations including West End Shows, Recording Artists, University Programmes and Corporate Organisations.
Lucinda’s work along side Head Clinician Ed Blake at Physio Ed Medical has allowed Lucinda to make innovative steps in joining physical treatment with voice and singing coaching, as well as vocal rehabilitation at Harley Street, London.
Lucinda is a strong believer that every person has the right to free and dynamic voice, and is keen to facilitate this through her in depth knowledge and talent in teaching & coaching.
JOHN ROBERTS Artistic Director of PuppetCraft
John founded PuppetCraft in 1990 and has since presented a wide range of shows and workshops to a spectrum of audiences. PuppetCraft is noted for combining beautifully crafted puppets with specially composed music.
He was Deputy Director of the Little Angel Theatre for 10 years performing and coordinating tours to international festivals around the world.
John has tutored a Puppetry module at Dartington College of Arts and annually runs professional wood carving courses in London and in Devon.
He was awarded Puppet Centre/Arts Council bursary to study traditional puppetry in China for 7 months and was nominated for the Lawrence Olivier Awards for outstanding achievement.