Joy Haynes, Director, Norwich Puppet Theatre

Corina Bona, Puppeteer and Maker
Sue Buckmaster, Artistic Director, Theatre Rites
Alison Duddle, Joint Artistic Director, Horse and Bamboo
Darren East, Brighton Puppetry School
Slavka Jovanovic, Community, Education and Participation Manager, Little Angel Theatre
Mervyn Millar, Director, Significant Object
Sean Myatt, Senior Lecturer, Nottingham Trent University
Natalie Querol, Director, The Empty Space
Keith Saha, Co-Artistic Director, 20 Stories High
Sarah Wright, Curious School of Puppetry

PDC Coordinator
Bethan Tomlinson

Joy Haynes, Director, Norwich Puppet Theatre
Norwich Puppet Theatre is an excellent introduction to the magic of theatre with original shows, activities, workshops and masterclasses for all ages.

Situated inside a converted medieval church, the Theatre is one of only three building-based puppet theatres in England. Home to a family of puppets spanning over 30 years, we produce new shows for families and children which play in Norwich before touring the UK and internationally. Shows currently on tour are Red Riding Hood, Pied Piper and Thumbelina.

Norwich Puppet Theatre is dedicated to championing this special artform hosting adult shows and talent development masterclasses for theatre makers, performers and puppeteers.

Corina Bona, Puppeteer and Maker
Corina Bona started life in Caracas, Venezuela. Thanks to her fathers work, she then moved with her family to Colombia, Mexico, USA, UK, Argentina and Switzerland. This international lifestyle has helped contribute to the many languages and accents that she loves to imitate. She settled in Bristol on 2000 to study and has been here ever since. Known more commonly as Cori, she is a puppeteer, Maker and Workshop facilitator. She is passionate about Puppetry and its power to entertain, educate and mystify. Cori has worked as a Puppeteer for over five years with reputable local and international companies. She loves teaching others how to bring puppets to life and make them from scratch. She also enjoys collaborating with other artist and companies to make puppets and performances.

Sue Buckmaster, Artistic Director, Theatre Rites
Sue has devoted much of her artistic life to the development of the Art of Puppetry. Her rich heritage involves four generations of theatre practitioners, including her father who was a Puppeteer. Over the past 20 years, as well as making over 20 productions for Theatre-Rites, Sue has collaborated with a number of companies, venues and artists who wished to include Puppetry in their presentations.

Sue offers a range of advice and collaboration, including:
-supporting you with Puppetry designs, which are integral to the overall design and help you find the puppet makers
-advise on how to leave space for Puppetry in script writing
-be part of your process as a Puppetry Director
-help with casting the right performers/puppeteers

Sue’s work as a Puppetry director, outside of Theatre-Rites includes: Melody Looses her Mojo (2013) 20 Stories High, directed by Keith Saha (Puppets made by Naomi Oppenheim), Peter Pan (2009) Threesixty Productions, directed by Ben Harrison (Puppets made by Tony Mason, Michael Fowkes, Tina Bicat and Rebekah Wilde), Pinocchio (2001) Lyric, Hammersmith directed by Marcello Magni (Puppets made by Peter O’Rourke), The Nativity (1999) Young Vic, directed by David Farr (Puppets made by Vicky Hallum and Sofie Layton), The Caucasian Chalk Circle (1997) Complicite/National Theatre, directed by Simon McBurney (Puppets made by Simon Auton) Rosa Carivani (1995), Theatre Clywd, directed by Rufus Norris (Puppets made by Sue Buckmaster) The Ghost Downstairs (1993) directed by Phelim McDermott (Puppets designed by Alice Purcell)

Alison Duddle, Joint Artistic Director, Horse and Bamboo
Alison came to Horse + Bamboo in 1997 with a powerful recommendation from In The Heart of The Beast Mask and Puppet Theatre of Minneapolis, where she had worked for several years before moving back to England. Now she’s a cornerstone of the company, overseeing The Boo programme, the Puppet Festival, and working with Bob as Joint Artistic Director.

Darren East, Brighton Puppetry School
Darren East has been working as a professional puppeteer for over twenty years, creating work that has toured the UK and internationally. He was the Associate Artist at the Little Angel Theatre (‘the home of British Puppetry’) in 2013 and awarded in 2014 an Off West End Award for his puppetry direction of Third Hand’s Puppet Opera Triple Bill. Darren has developed his own unique pedagogy for puppetry training, running sell-out courses from his base in Brighton since 2012 and has taught puppetry and physical theatre at Kingston and Middlesex Universities as well as running puppetry workshops in schools and colleges across Brighton and London for more than 15 years.

Slavka Jovanovic, Interim Director, Little Angel Theatre
Slavka has worked in theatre/education for over 25 years, for companies such as Shared Experience, Battersea Arts Centre, Watermans and Little Angel Theatre.

She began work at Little Angel Theatre in 2001 and has built a vibrant and inclusive participatory programme from scratch.  This comprises of puppet clubs for children & adults, professional development and a comprehensive participatory programme for schools and venues.  She has also produced a number of puppetry projects in the community with various groups including Somali Speakers Women’s Group; Teenage Mothers; Day Centres for the elderly; Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Whilst at LAT Slavka has also produced three productions for children under 5 –  Handa’s Surprise, Goin’ on a Lion Hunt and The Very Thirsty Giraffe, which form a body of work known as The African Trilogy.  She has also supported Chloe Purcell, as Puppeter-in-Residence at Thornhill primary school over the past 6 years.  She has created an number of extended puppetry residencies in primary schools including Puppet Power and Rosie Gets the Plot.

From October 2014 Slavka was the Interim Artistic Director at Little Angel Theatre.  During this time she supported artist development through the Incubate and Firsts programmes. She is the Director of Suspense Puppetry Festival and is programming the Visitors Season at the theatre.

Slavka also works as a freelance Arts & Education Consultant. She was the children and families programmer at watermans for 10 years. She currently works for Crying Out Loud (producers of circus, dance and innovative shows for children and adults) as their Education Consultant. She is supporting Crying Out Loud in developing projects for children with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder, as well as looking at access and inclusion in general. She has been working with French theatre company L’insomnante since 2012 on a project called Dormez-vous?.  This is a bespoke mulit-arts project for autistic children taking place in special schools.

Slavka has several years’ experience of working with people on the autistic spectrum, including those with Sensory Integration issues and specific learning difficulties. She delivers Relaxed Performance Training and provides associated resources, including the preparation of Visual Stories and Access Guides. She can consult on the creation of arts projects and performances that take place in special schools. She has set up a youth theatre at Little angel Theatre for children with ASD aged 11-16.

Mervyn Millar, Director, Significant Object
Mervyn is a Creative Associate for the National Theatre’s War Horse, having been involved in the creative team since its inception and directing casts in London, New York, Toronto and Berlin. He was Artistic Director of Handspring UK and has a longstanding association with Handspring Puppet Company in Cape Town. For Handspring, he has directed Crow, co-directed Stiller (at the Bayerisches Staatschauspiel) and Jubilee Salute (at the National Theatre London), was Assistant Director on Tall Horse and appeared in Or You Could Kiss Me and War Horse.

He has a hatful of other puppetry design and direction credits taking in the RSC, the Strasbourg Opera, The Royal Court, the Young Vic, the Bolton Octagon and the National Theatre. Awards include a Herald Angel Award and a Total theatre Award (both for his collaboration with Kazuko Hohki, Evidence for the Existence of Borrowers). In 2010 Mervyn was awarded an Arts Foundation Fellowship.

Sean Myatt, Senior Lecturer, Nottingham Trent University
Sean is involved in the planning and teaching of modules on the BA Theatre Design, and Costume Design and Making, including Erasmus and work based learning. He also was instrumental in the development of the MA in Puppetry and digital animation and the teaching of it.

  • Objects and their meanings
  • Analogue and digital active still points
  • European and international puppetry
  • Object theatre
  • Epic spectacle and street performance
  • Pedagogy of sustainability design teaching
  • Pedagogy of Puppet arts

OPEN – looking at the relationships of Objects, Practices and Experiences Sustainable Theatres / Performance Practices – looking at the development of sustainable design practice and pedagogy.

Research, scholarly and professional interests:

  • Research network development in the Foundations for Object theatre. Looking at the practice and teaching of object theatre across, Asia, North America and Europe
  • The meaning in the object looking at the nature of the performing object and its cross over into other disciplines such a: Fine arts, Dance, psychology, anthropology
  • Pedagogy of object theatre.(Looking at the development and foundation of Object theatre teaching)
  • Community and the object. (Looking into Systems and relationships between objects and people).

Other areas of interest and research:

  • Puppetry, Traditional and Post-modern
  • Sustainable Theatre development, in Practice and teaching

Natalie Querol, Director, The Empty Space
“I’ve loved theatre, watching it and making it for as long as I can remember and I decided to become a producer whilst studying English at university. My route in was as marketing assistant at Warwick Arts Centre, then General Manager for a number of small companies including a national touring children’s theatre company which sparked my passion for work for young audiences. In 2003 I set up my own company, State of Play, and produced shows for festivals and theatres, established and programmed an annual festival of clown, mask and puppet theatre at the Buddle Arts Centre and started to support a number of emerging artists to create their own work.

In 2006 I found myself regularly drinking coffee with Caroline Routh whilst we bemoaned the lack of support for theatre makers in the north east and the consequent dearth of exciting new work. It turned out we had a very similar taste in theatre (if not coffee) as well as a shared love of the north east and desire to produce and support great work, and from these caffeine fuelled sessions The Empty Space was born. So far it’s been a blast and we’ve been able to make a real difference both to the artists we’ve worked with and, I believe, to the cultural landscape of the region.”

Keith Saha, Co-Artistic Director, 20 Stories High
Keith started acting in the Everyman Youth Theatre in Liverpool in the 1980’s before going on to be an actor, working for companies such as Graeae, Theatre Centre, Red Ladder, Contact, Theatre Royal Stratford East and Birmingham Rep. He then became a composer for theatre for various companies including Carboard Citizens, Theatre Centre and Oval House.

Now a writer and Director he has been focusing on telling stories through the forms of Hip-Hop Theatre with Puppetry and Mask. In 2010, he was awarded The Brian Way Prize for the UK’s Best New Play for Young People for his play Ghost Boy, a co-production with Contact and Birmingham Rep which championed this form. He also writes and develops plays with 20 Stories High Youth Theatre including, Rain, Bulldozer Urban Cabaret , and The Universe and Me.

Sarah Wright, Artistic Director, Curious School Of Puppetry 
Sarah trained from a young age at the Little Angel Theatre and has worked extensively within physical and puppetry based theatre ever since! She is an Associate Artist with Kneehigh.

Puppet Direction includes: Kneehigh: Dead Dog in a Suitcase, Brief Encounter, Red Shoes, Hansel and Gretel, Wild Bride. Little Angel: Very Old Man with Enormous Wings, Cupid and Psyche and Angelo. Young Vic: A Season in the Congo. RSC: The Empress, Tempest. Bath Theatre Royal: The Double. Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures: Sleeping Beauty. Silent Tide: Silent Tide, Curious Ganz.

As Puppeteer includes: Little Angel: Venus and Adonis, Very Old Man with Enormous Wings, The Little Mermaid. Kneehigh: Dead Dog in a Suitcase, Rambles. Silo Theatre Amsterdam: The Tower, Planetarium Silo, Hotel. Faulty Optic/Invisible Thread: Fish Clay Perspex, Plucked, Les Hommes Vides. Improbable: Animo.


Bethan Tomlinson, PDC Coordinator
Bethan Tomlinson is a Creative Producer for Strangeface Theatre Company. Strangeface has run projects on tabletops and haulage trucks, in libraries, sports hall and grand old theatres. In 2014 she won and managed commissions for 2 Creative People and Places schemes. In 2015/6 the company will run a recommission of the FenBoy project based on British folklore for Transported for rural halls and agricultural workplaces, extend the reach of tabletop theatre for unusual spaces in Pubbetry and an investigation into Cognitive Dissonance with Wellcome Trust funding.

Bethan works freelance for Ideas Test and Applause Rural Touring in Swale and Medway, helping volunteer promoters access cultural opportunities and established the first Tunbridge Wells Puppetry Festival with ex-Puppet Centre Director Linda Lewis.

She currently sits on the Tunbridge Wells Cultural Leaders Group and Kent Cultural Transformation Board that is working to further Cultural life in Kent through strategic networks.