Puppet Place is your hub for all things animated on stage and film in the UK. We are dedicated to sharing our passion for puppetry and animation with the wider public and supporting artists and professionals working with these artforms. Our building, on Bristol’s Harbourside, is home to a community of resident companies and artists producing brilliant work in puppetry, animation and the creative sector more widely. We support the greater puppetry and creative sector through residencies, networking and training.
For the public we run events, workshops and activities in Bristol and beyond, including the internationally recognised, Bristol Festival of Puppetry. Check What’s On to find out more.
Puppet Place was founded by Di Steeds and Jim Still in 1984. It offered resources and training in puppetry to artists in the South West and ran regular workshops in schools. In the late 1990s the organisation lost its funding and was forced to close.
In 2007, four Bristol based companies came together to reinvigorate Puppet Place: Stuff & Nonsense Theatre Company, Full Beam Visual Theatre, Green Ginger and Pickled Image. In 2008, we moved into one half of our current premises, Unit 18. In 2009 we ran the first ever Bristol Festival of Puppetry and decided to continue it as a biennial event. Since then, each festival has grown in ambition and scope.
In 2014, Puppet Place developed from a largely voluntary run organisation and we appointed our first Executive Producer – Rachel McNally and started to run activities and events outside of the festival, including workshops, a puppetry prototype and our first international presentation, Stuffed Puppet’s Punch & Judy in Afghanistan, in collaboration with Tobacco Factory Theatres.
In early 2015, Puppet Place secured the lease on Unit 18 and took over the whole building, with the support of our previous landlords, Bristol Old Vic. We are currently in a transitional phase between organisational models; working towards a ‘flat’ structure in which Resident Artists share greater responsibility for the day-to-day running of the building. We continually strive to develop our premises and our work to provide further support and development opportunities for the puppetry and animation communities in the UK and introduce more people to the wonders of all things animated!
Puppet Place would not exist without the support and goodwill of the artistic community in Bristol and we offer them our whole-hearted thanks.
WHO’S WHO AT PUPPET PLACE
Cath Grieg MBE – Trustee
Cath has been a tireless arts-worker in Bristol for many decades and Puppet Place is fortunate to have access to her dedication and skills. Cath was awarded an MBE for her services to Theatre for Young People in 2013 through her involvement with Travelling Light Theatre Company.
Chris Pirie – Trustee & Resident Artist
Chris is Artistic Director of Green Ginger. He has thirty years’ experience as a freelance designer and maker of puppetry solutions for screen and stage and is also a lecturer and researcher in puppetry for performance.
Cat Rock – Trustee & Resident Artist
Cat is a multi-disciplinary artist specialising in puppetry and costume solutions, mainly in the outdoor arts sector. She is a partner in House of Funny Noises, a Bristol-based film collective responsible for producing the Bristol 48-hr Film Challenge.
Jo Kelly – Trustee
Jo is an award-winning architect specialising in bespoke design and creative reuse; an accredited CLH adviser, community organiser and project manager, and has both set up and is an active member of a housing cooperative. Jo led a project with UWE students to envision how Puppet Place’s home at Unit 18 might look and function in the future.
Puppet Place Trust Ltd is always looking to strengthen and diversify its board of Trustees. You can find out more, including how to apply here or email our Finance & Operations Manager, Sally Reay: email@example.com
Puppet Place Day-to-day Management
Sally Reay – Finance & Operations Manager (part-time)
Sally is the Director of In Bristol Studio and the founder and manager of Bristol Creatives. She has been managing artist studios and supporting visual applied artists in the city for over 15 years. She is also an artists and designer maker.
She joined Puppet Place in July 2022 and is responsible for the smooth running of our building and with managing bookings of our Rehearsal Studio and Fabrication Bay. Contact for Sally for all enquiries – firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out more about Puppet Place governance and policies please click here