PuppetCraft presents…


Inspired by the Chinese classic story Journey to the West.

Brilliant poet Michael Rosen (Children’s Laureate 2007–2009) has written a wonderful script specially for us.

Monkey illustrationWe have made a show for family audiences, and are working on a little show for young children… and we have devised workshops and storytelling.


A new version by Michael Rosen.
A puppet show for the whole family… perfect for ages 4+
The birth and comic adventures of a fantastical superhero.
Stunning string puppets, antique shadow puppets and live music.
A full theatrical puppet show.
For theatres, festivals, arts centres, village halls & schools.
60 minutes.
Audience size up to 200.
A full set with integrated lighting.
A narrator/musician & 2 puppeteers.
We can perform this show with SuperMonkey both on the same day.

Here is a short trailer of the show.


Puppets with music, songs and funny poems by Michael Rosen about SuperMonkey.
An intimate show for 3 to 6 year olds.
For theatres, festivals, arts centres, village halls, schools, libraries, marquees & little venues.
30 to 40 minutes.
Audience size up to 80.
Live music/sounds and simple staging.
Two performers.

We will also have workshops linked to the shows.
Lantern making. Shadow puppet making.

For ages 6+ or for adults.
1½ to 3 hours.
Up to 30 participants.

Stories of Monkey

Storytelling using puppets, poems and music.
For very small schools, libraries, marquees, residential homes.
For 4 to 11 year olds, or for adults.
30 minutes.
Audience size up to 30.
Simple staging. One or two performers.

Monkey is the main comic character in China’s great classic story Journey to the West, and is still one of the world’s most popular folk heroes, even after hundreds of years.  Hatched from a stone egg the mischievous Monkey can fly on a cloud, turn invisible and transform into anything…!
We have created our own telling of the story of the much loved trickster and super-hero  Monkey.
26 years ago PuppetCraft’s director, John Roberts, trained in China for 6 months learning about a puppet tradition that goes back 3000 years. He has spent the last two decades perfecting his own puppet making and performing methods based on this ancient form.

The Monkey shows has:
•    Carved wooden string puppets designed and made by John.
•    Beautiful, delicate coloured, 200 year old Chinese shadow puppets, which have recently been rediscovered in a dusty box in Devon, after many years in storage as part of the Dartington Hall Trust Collection.
•    Live music using traditional Chinese instruments, blended with modern techniques to give a vibrant sound world to accompany Monkey’s somersaulting adventures.
•    Fantastic movement that only puppets can do… inspired by Chinese dance and martial arts.
•    Michael Rosen’s wonderfully funny and original writing.

The Team

Writer Michael Rosen
Designer/Director John Roberts
Composer/Musical director Rachel Miller
Fabric/Costumes Sue Field
Movement director Belinda Chapman
Chinese brush painting and calligraphy  Li Xiao Bai

Two puppeteers and a narroator/musician perform the show.
Performers: Mandi Allin, Libby Quick, Marisa Latimer, Sarah Vigars, Bernardine Artuso, Joanna Hruby, Rachel Miller, John Roberts.

Makers: carving, drawing, filming, editing, cutting, constructing, sewing, dying, painting: Sue Field, Jo White, Sarah Vigars, Martin Corbin, Mandi Allin, Joannna Hruby, Mike Tann, Jane Eve, Libby Quick, John Roberts.
Admin, fund-raising and Social Media: Jen Stakes-Roberts, Chloe Uden.
Extra help: folding, gluing, rolling, welding, sawing, adding, wiring: Mel, Maisie, Brian, Terry, Stuart Robb hydraulic design, Robyn, John Darbey.
A big THANK YOU to: Philip Hull for the loan of the beautiful Chinese zither,  Dartington Hall Trust for the loan of ancient shadow puppets, Robin Ruizendaal in Taiwan for his help and advise, Guy from next door for tubes, Sam Toft, Eileen & Richard Bramwell, Bridget Curran and all the people who helped PuppetCraft buy a new van to tour the show, DAPA for use of a studio.

Funded by
The Lottery via Arts Council England,
The Mitchell Trust, The Elmgrant Trust.

Michael RosenCarved headsChinese puppet carvers

Chinese shaddow puppet 2Chinese shaddow puppet 1

Technical details
Comic books and scrolls of the show
Take a look at our blog to see MONKEY’s journey from sketches to a touring show
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