Tristan and isolde

PuppetCraft presents
Tristan and Isolde

One of the greatest stories of love and jealousy of all time.

Based on the Celtic myth – told using large sculptural puppets, projected photographic images, shadows, storytelling and song.  With original recorded and live music.

Tristan and isolde
Love, war and …..comedy.
For family audiences… including ADULTS! … everyone over 8 years old.

“..the scenes were dramatically rich, visually compelling, with highest production values and a quality of performance rarely encountered in puppetry.”  Dartington Arts

“A clever blend of art and craft. A good story, humour, surprises, music all original, plus quality puppetry”
The Guardian

Tristan and Isolde

Funding has been received from  The Arts Council of England allowing reduced rates for this tour.

Arts Council
South West Arts and The Arts Council of England funded research and development of Tristan & Isolde.


There is always something magical about good puppet theatre, and this enchanting adaptation of the old Celtic myth by PuppetCraft is full of beautiful, stark images which are nothing less than bewitching.

Colour combines with comedy, simplicity with technical ingenuity and inventiveness to create a heady mix of myth and bawdy humour.  Both elements are finely balanced in this melancholy, sea-swept tale of doomed love and warring nations with Tristan and Isolde as Romeo and Juliet avant la letter.

The recurrent theme of voyaging is created with evocative oceanic sounds and splendid use of  a transparent backdrop through which shadows and images are projected.  To the sound of rollers breaking against a sandy shore, the puppeteers behind the curtain gather it up into the form of  a billowing wave, startling in it’s effectiveness.  In general, the effects demonstrate a remarkable theatrical intelligence.

Hooded like beekeepers, the puppeteers are much more in evidence than one might have imagined, and there is no attempt to disguise the mechanics of the animation.  This gives the puppets a strange doubleness, at times wondrously human-like and at times, equally wondrously, just bits of wood and material.  At one superlative moment, one of the puppets strips down to her bare essentials, just a head wobbling on bits of wire and wood, and yet the illusion remains.

The story is told with lyrical verve, half-sung and half-intoned by Rowan Wylie, who also provides sound effects with wooden blocks and wind instruments.  Many of the sounds and images haunt the mind for a long time after the puppets, now lifeless, are carried out in a procession from the theatre.

William McEvoy. The Stage. June 1999.

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