Puppetry Festival Preview

With Bristol’s first ever Festival of Puppetry kicking off in just two short week’s time, we asked Rachel McNally of Full Beam Visual Theatre to give us a sneak preview of some of the highlights of this year’s festival….


Bristol’s first ever Festival of Puppetry takes place 28 August – 6 September at Tobacco Factory Theatre and their new space The Brewery. Packed with shows and workshops for all ages, this festival is for everyone who enjoys watching, making and playing around with socks, latex, foam and chamois leather made into weird and wonderful creations… by this I mean things of a puppet and animated persuasion!

Puppet Place is a resource and development agency for puppeteers and anyone interested in the artform in the South West. We’re still very new, so really interested in hearing from anyone out there who would like to get involved or has something they want to say about puppets in any media, whether it is theatre, film or street performance. Companies behind Puppet Place are: Full Beam Visual Theatre, Green Ginger and Pickled Image


While the festival is crammed full of great shows, particular highlights include one of the final performances of Pickled Image’s Houdini’s Suitcase on 31 August, this is a beautiful, funny piece that evokes a bygone era of circus and magic and the mud-soaked trenches of the Somme. On 29 August Stephen Mottram will perform his dark and truly beautiful piece The Seed Carriers about a race of small beings who disguise themselves as birds and insects to survive a ruthless social system.

seed carriers

The festival ends with two great shows from Europe: Hunger from Norway (directed by Pickled Image) is on 4-5 September, this is a dark and powerful piece based on Knut Hamsun’s novel about the internal struggle of a writer who starves himself to unlock his creative genius; and finally Chemins de Terre from Belgium are bringing their show Richard (5 September). If you’ve never seen object theatre before or think you know all about it, this show is must. One of the funniest, silliest things I’ve seen in a long time and almost impossible to describe, but imagine Shakespeare re-told using domestic objects including clothes pegs and a slab of meat, this is puppetry but not as you know it.

Rachel McNally

For full listings of all events including family shows, the Carnival, workshops, film screenings please visit www.puppetplace.org