A group of people smiling while holding various puppet, including a bird, a duck, a dog, a boy, a giant hollow bamboo-made human, and more.

Our outreach programme is an important aspect of our company, and we offer bespoke workshops to theatres, schools, universities, events and festivals – both live and online. We can cater for abilities and ages, including non-English speaking participants.

During the Covid 19 pandemic, we migrated our outreach programme online and released a series of workshops to do from home. We can also record additional/specific videos to your requirements on commission so please get in touch if you’d like to discuss this option.

Puppetry weekend course for adults

A workshop with participants sitting around tables making puppets with newspapers.

Our hugely popular weekend puppetry course for adults is the perfect place for those with no puppetry experience and who want a whistle-stop tour into many different puppetry techniques and artforms. After discovering how to bring breath into inanimate objects, the course goes on to cover object manipulation, lip synching, table top bunraku, large scale puppetry and shadow work. The weekend also includes a simple puppet-making workshop so you come away with your own puppet to practice on at home - or a ready made workshop for your own practice!

This course is incredibly popular and places are first come first served. Our next course will be in 2025, please sign up to our mailing list if you would to be the first to hear about future courses.

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“Tessa’s workshop was informative, well-paced and very enjoyable! She encouraged participants to contribute creatively to the proceedings and there was a focus on skill-development which was useful, as I can implement these techniques into my own practises as a theatre-maker.”

“It laid out the basics of puppetry, looking at various types of puppets/ object manipulation, and how to work with people in close proximity. It’s a learning in the foundations of puppetry skills. I’d recommend to anyone wishing to learn as a beginner.”

- Previous participants' feedback

Online Puppetry Workshops

Whether you’re a performer wanting to diversify your skills over lockdown, or a parent looking for rainy-day entertainment for your little ones, this trio of online workshops covers how to create, and manipulate, your very own puppet. Instructions are simple, step by step, and you can pause and come back to parts you missed again and again.

Basic puppet making

Tess operating a puppet made of paper, with tape and scissors on the table.

This is a simple puppet-making workshop suitable for adults and children aged 7+ (younger children can partake, too, but must be supervised).  The puppet in this tutorial can be made using just newspaper and masking tape (the more complex - optional - design involves cardboard, stronge tape and a peg too) and should take about an hour depending on ability.

Tessa Bide has been puppeteering for 14 years and has worked all over the world. She has worked and trained with various companies including Little Angel Theatre, Blind Summit (Olympic opening ceremony 2012) and Mervyn Miller – Puppetry Director of War Horse.

Introduction to puppetry and object manipulation

Four workshop participants practising object manipulation with newspaper on the ground.

In this workshop, you will learn how to bring an inanimate object to life and how to make it talk. You will begin to learn how to move your body to facilitate the puppet. All you need is some old newspaper, a peg, and some objects found around the house. It is suitable for children aged7+(younger children can partake, too, but will need supervision) and perfect for the playful adults in all of us!

Bunraku/table-top puppetry workshop

Three workshop participants operating a puppet made of tea towel and tea cup.

You will learn how to bring a human-shaped puppet to life in a group of 2 or 3, like traditional Japanese bunraku puppeteers. It is suitable for adults and children aged 7+ and you will need a tea towel and tea cup or small mug, and a puppet made in the first workshop in the series – make your own puppet.

We advise you to do some team building exercises together before starting this workshop. Exercises like flocking (instructions here) and mirroring, as well as traditional team-building theatre games.

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