Tessa Bide

Tessa is a theatre maker and freelance performer, puppeteer and puppetry director. Her company, Tessa Bide Productions, makes award-winning family theatre from original stories then tours it nationally and internationally. Tessa also offers consultancy for emerging artists and small-scale companies who wish to produce themselves.

I am a Theatre Maker, producer and performer specialising in puppetry, physical theatre and music. As well as freelancing for other companies, I make innovative theatre productions for family audiences with my own theatre company, Tessa Bide Productions. Our shows tell original stories, aimed at encouraging a dialogue between the generations. All of our productions have received funding from Arts Council England (12 successful grants to date) as well as other match funding.

I also consult emerging artists and companies who wish to produce themselves. I offer help and advice in writing funding applications, tour packs, building branding and successful tours. I aim to work with the ‘teach a man to fish…’ approach, helping artists to build valuable producing skills they can go on to use for many years to come, rather than working as a freelance producer and helping artists in the short term on a project-to-project basis. For more information on my consultancy, see my website: www.tessabideconsulting.uk.



A Strange New Space- streaming now!

As part of Bristol Refugee Festival 2020, Tessa Bide Productions presents award-winning show A Strange New Space, online for everyone to watch.


The Anarchist’s Mobile Library

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‘The Anarchist’s Mobile Library’ will take you on an incredible adventure that YOU choose, solving problems and meeting characters, all in a retro, pop-up caravan! Where will you choose to journey to? An intergalactic space adventure? A deep sea swim meeting creatures that lurk in the depths? An abandoned witch’s kitchen, with the cauldron bubbling away, just begging to be played with..? The Anarchist’s Mobile Library exists to empower children to be masters of their own destinies, to be inspired by literature and to change the stories they see unfolding around them. Audiences (of up to 3 children and 1 adult at a time) will join us on an adventure and leave feeling prepped and primed to change the world! See the promo film here. The Anarchist’s Mobile Library was developed with support from Seven Stories: The National Centre for Children’s Literature, Field Trip, The English Caravan Company, Latitude Festival and Arts Council England. It premiered at the bOing! Festival 2019 then did a small tour in 2019. It’s plan was to do an extensive 28 venue tour in 2020 but covid called it off, so Tessa Bide Productions made a digital, audio version. The full show will tour again in 2021.

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The Selfish Giant

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A Co-Production with Soap Soup Theatre.  Grinter is a giant. She lives happily alone in her huge cold house, surrounded by her huge snowy gardens, enclosed by her high, frost-covered walls. She shuts out the world, because long ago, the world shut her out, and so she hides, safe and quiet in her peaceful, icy home. Outside the towering walls of her enormous garden, the world has been changing and there is very little green left. One day, the children – tired of playing on hard roads and grey rooftops – find a chink in the giant’s wall and climb through, changing the course of the children’s and Grinter’s lives forever. The Selfish Giant is a two-hander, told using powerful storytelling, captivating puppetry, beautiful design, enchanting music and a sprinkling of audience interaction magic. An innovative light and sound design transports the audience into a rich and evocative world where giants are your neighbours and the voices of the wind and snow whisper at your keyhole and call down your chimney at night. See the promo film here. The Selfish Giant premiered at Omnibus Theatre for their Christmas run 2018. Selling over 3000 tickets over the run, it then went on to tour to over 30 venues in Spring 2019 then a further tour and winter run at Pound Arts for Christmas 2019. It was due to tour again in Spring 2020 but plans were cancelled due to covid. It’s taking bookings for 2021 now.

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A young boy waits for the birth of his baby sister… He can’t wait to tell her all about the swifts which nest not far from the top window of their pointy house… it’s nearly time, she’s nearly here. ‘Perfect’ is an innovative adaptation of the beautiful illustrated book by Nicola Davies and Cathy Fisher, about a young boy meeting his disabled sister for the first time. Perfect is a remarkable story of anticipation and disappointment, acceptance and love, and the power of nature in all our lives. It features stunning animations inspired by the book’s illustrations, two talented performers, puppetry and a beautiful original soundscore composed. See the promo film here.  Perfect premiered at Omnibus Theatre in Clapham in April 2018 then toured for a year, finishing at the Nationale Theater Den Haag in The Netherlands in Feb 2019. It will tour again!

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The Tap Dancing Mermaid

Portfolio image: Tessa Bide - The Tap Dancing Mermaid
Gather round, gather round for the Moon’s magical, mystical story about a tippetty-top tap dancer who he has been watching at night. Marina Skippett creeps out of her house every night to shuffle and stomp on the boardwalk to the sounds of the sea. She can’t tap dance at home anymore since her evil, tractor-sized Aunty banned it, threatening to feed Marina’s dinners to the dog! But then, one moonlit night, Marina meets a mysterious, watery boy called Leo swimming in the sea and her life is never the same again!rnrnThe “truly amazing one woman power house” Tessa Bide brings you her celebrated devised solo production, called “just everything a children’s theatre experience should be” (Childplays). There are stunning puppets, original live music to sing along to and tap dancing that will make you want to stick 50ps to your shoes and join in! For everyone aged 3 to 133. See the promo film here.  The Tap Dancing Mermaid premiered at The Wardrobe Theatre in April 2013 then toured extensively until April 2016, including a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015. The company Pins and Needles Productions then took it on tour in 2017, with Tessa directing and ProTours tourbooking. Tessa has also released the children’s book of the same name, available on amazon. The show will tour again!

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Arnold’s Big Adventure

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Gather under the branches for the biggest day in the woodland calendar, Drop Day! Arnold the acorn is about to drop from his tree and begin his amazing adventure in search of somewhere to put down his roots. Join Arnold as his story flies in the wind, wiggles across the land and splashes into the sea… Who will he meet along the way and will he ever find the perfect spot to call home?rnrnTaking place in a special bell tent, Arnold’s Big Adventure features beautiful shadow puppetry, wonderful original music to sing along to and plenty of thrilling surprises along the way…rnrnAn intimate, interactive production perfect for a child’s first theatre experience and with plenty for parents to enjoy too. Suitable for children aged 3 – 10 years and their grown-ups. See the video promo here. After winning a mini-commission from Spark Arts and IdeasTap, Arnold’s Big Adventure toured extensively to festivals, theatres and community venues between 2014-2016. The tent has gone on to a new home so it won’t be touring again.

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The Melody Makers

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Pip Christmas hates Christmas. Her family love it so much they made it their name – they put the tree up in September and put it away in March and they eat beans all year to save up for the festive indulgence. Pip’s only saving grace is her best friend, Rupert – a tiny robin who visits her every morning for the month of December. One morning, the Christmas music disappears and Pip must go on a quest to find out why the music has stopped – she must find the Melody Makers and, boy, they’re not happy….rnrnStarring 4 talented actor-musicians, beautiful hand-made puppets and A LOT of music, this will be a magical, musical extravaganza set to charm the stockings off of the whole family. See the promo video here.   This production went through a Research and Development period in June 2015, supported by Arts Council England, Bridport Arts Centre and The Marine Theatre’s ‘Ru0026D By The Sea’ programme. It later toured to The Wardrobe Theatre (Bristol), The Marine Theatre (Lyme Regis) and Bridport Arts Centre in winter 2015. It has gone into storage but could be coaxed out again…

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A Strange New Space

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Did you know that Astronauts get taller in space? That our solar system is around 4.6 billion years old? Or that there are more stars in the universe than grains of sand on all of the beaches on Earth? Amira knows all of these things. She is completely obsessed with space and dreams of becoming an Astronaut. But one night, the bangs, whooshes and fizzes of her imagination explode right out of her dreams, becoming a deafening reality. In the darkness, Amira must leave her hometown to go on an adventure, to find a safe space. Hearing the words ‘space’ and ‘adventure’, Amira quickly packs her bag for the intergalactic trip she’s been waiting for… A completely original one woman show without words, A Strange New Space melds physical theatre with stunning puppetry and original music. We travel on an imagined voyage into space, paralleled with Amira’s real-life journey as a refugee across continents, forming an unforgettable introduction to theatre for audiences of four years and older. This production was developed in partnership with The Trinity CentreMay Park Primary SchoolIntegrate Bristol and Circomedia, funded by Arts Council England. After premiering at Bristol’s Circomedia in April 2017, the show toured extensively until October 2019, including a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2017, being selected for the Story Of…Space festival in Goa, India 2018 and a performance at the Royal Albert Hall as part of their space festival. It is still available to tour again.

More info (opens external website)