Summer carving course photos

Weeks 1&2: Carve a Wooden String Puppet and Carve a Wooden Puppet

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Week 3: Make a Complete Puppet and Perform

…Involving a trip into Totnes to perform to passers-by!

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Well it was a busy few weeks but enormous fun and I’m always overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and hard work of everyone who joins us.

Will you be coming along next year?

News round-up

Added 9th February 2011.
We are still touring The Mousehole Cat to great appreciation.
“My favorite show.” “A little gem!” Audience comments.

Tom and Cat web

Our workshop has been busy making puppets for other theatre companies:

Prof Yaffle

Professor Yaffle the wooden woodpecker was made lovingly out of plywood for a theatre show of Bagpuss which ran at the Soho Theatre, London.
And two large puppets for a large theatre show by celebrated Kneehigh Theatre.


Plans are afoot to make a new production … on an African theme…. working with top musician Chartwell.

Chartwell Dutiro

Making courses have been more popular this year than ever.

Course 2011 2 Course 2011 1

One-day willow workshop

Added 28th May 2010

An early summer one-day willow workshop produces fantastic results.

Willow Workshop 5 Willow Workshop 4 Willow Workshop 3 Willow Workshop 2 Willow Workshop 1

PuppetCraft ran a day workshop showing TYKES ( Youth branch of the Teignmouth Players) how to make withie structures…..
The fish are for an outdoor performance they have been devising for ‘You Can Cut It’ – a festival Teignbridge in Devon puts on to encourage recycling and proper disposal of your rubbish.
The piece will be performed at Decoy Park Newton Abbot on 6th August, Dawlish Lawn on 9th August and The Den Teignmouth on 10th.

Busy Workshops

Added 31st August 2008

Three weeks of busy workshops took place at Dartington in July and August, with 20 puppet enthusiasts coming from around the world – from USA, Spain, Turkey and Britain.

Busy workshops 1

Two weeks were devoted to carving wooden puppets, with a wonderful range of inventive puppets being designed and created.
Comments from participants:“Brilliant.. don’t think the course could be improved…except too many biscuits!” “Very relaxed atmosphere… spot on… fantastic…exceeded expectations.” ” Emphasis was on producing a puppet of high quality with attention to detail.”

Carving workshops

One week was a “Finishing and Performing” course.
For people who had nearly complete puppets this was a chance to be guided through painting, stringing, wig and costume making and the devising of a short performance that was shared with the public of our local town, and even made it onto BBC TV.
Comments: “Exciting to see my puppet come to life.” “Such fun.. and informative. Gave me the push I needed.”
See GALLERY for pictures from the courses

From BUNRAKU ……….towards a future theatre

Added 25th November 2007


A performance-based course with Japanese master-puppeteer Nori SAWA.

25th to 29th March 2008 at Dartington, Totnes, Devon, England.
For Puppeteers, Actors, Designers, Arists, Dancers, Musicians.
A rare opportunity to engage with the traditions of the ancient art of Japanese “Bunraku” puppet theatre…  and to bring these skills up to date and make work relevant to today’s theatre.
10 places are reserved for people living and/or working in the South West.
Grants will be given to allow 3 people from the South West to pay only £50.
Please express an interest as soon as possible, so PuppetCraft can show funders that there is a need to run this course.

Dedicated Puppet Maker!

Added 18th August 2005
Michael Spurgeon has been coming to PuppetCraft Carving Courses run by John Roberts for many years…

This year was his 10th PuppetCraft course!!!!

“One of the most enjoyable and helpful I have attended. There was a relaxed atmosphere and everyone was encouraged to contribute.
Challenging and inspirational!!.”
Over the years Michael has made a fantastic array of wooden puppets, each year adding some new element of complexity or innovation.

Michael Spurgeon

A major grant for new productions from the Arts Council

Added 3rd February 2005

A major grant for new productions.

The Arts Council England, South West has awarded a substantial grant to PuppetCraft to make and tour two new productions.

A team of craftsmen and women will be working for two years to bring the new shows to villages, schools, theatres and festivals throughout the South West of England.
PuppetCraft has teamed up again with playwright/poet Adrian Mitchell to write scripts for both shows.
Adrian tells stories like no other. “He is a joker, a lyrics writer, a word-spinner… a man of passion and imagination.” His work marries perfectly with the inventive possibilities of puppetry.
PuppetCraft and Adrian have worked together before with great success.

Nobody Rides The Unicorn.” A small-scale show for young audiences of 4 to 11 year olds and families. Based on the book by Adrian Mitchell.
The Unicorn is a deep-rooted British myth that has been turned into a “beautifully crafted tale of naïve, innocent good and cynical, selfish evil – a classic of modern fiction.”
The gorgeous illustrations by Stephen Lambert. in the book will form the basis of the show’s design.

Perseus and the Gorgon’s Head.” A retelling of this Greek legend, for family audiences including adults.
A large-scale puppet production: with many puppet forms, video projection and live music.