Our programme of events, classes and workshops support a range of ages and abilities. We welcome everyone to have a go, from the curious to the professional. Our education and outreach activity is growing so we encourage your ideas and feedback about what you’d like to have a play with.

All courses and workshops take place at

Unit 18 Albion Dockside Estate

Hanover Place

Bristol BS1 6UT

unless otherwise stated.


N.B. Puppet Place only offers refunds in circumstances where a course, workshop or event is cancelled.








Puppetry Design and Fabrication Course SOLD OUT

22 Feb- 29 Mar (Weds) 6.30-8.30pm & 1 Apr (Sat) 10am-4pm

Ages 18+


If you would like to go on the mailing list to receive information about future courses please email info@puppetplace.org


The first session will focus on the performance qualities of materials, objects and puppets: building an appreciation of the relationship between the human operator and puppet in “bringing the inanimate to life”. Starting from these first principles, participants will then design and build their own puppet, learning skills of joint making and appropriate use of materials and tools along the way. At the end, Participants will then have the opportunity to participate in a day long performance workshop with their puppets to discover how to bring them to life: their range of movement and character.


This course will take place in Puppet Place’s fabrication studio and rehearsal studio. Participants will also be introduced to the range of tools that are the “musts” for any serious puppet maker.

Please note places on this course are strictly limited to 9 people, so early booking is advised!


This course will be led by Chris Pirie. Chris is Director of Green Ginger and a highly experienced puppeteer, maker and director.


£185 - all materials included

Puppetry Is Dead. Long Live Puppetry! Creative Cafe with Rachel McNally

23 February (Thurs) 7.30pm

Ages 18+



Join us for the next Creative Cafe, our bi-monthly space where we share some of the ideas and projects percolating among Puppet Place’s Resident Artist community.

Following on from her provocation a few years back (Has The Popularity of War Horse Killed Off Innovation in UK Puppetry?) Puppet Place’s CEO,  Rachel McNally,  will reflect on developments in UK puppetry and re-consider why it is important to ask questions about art and creative practice in the current political climate, as artists, as audiences and global citizens.

At Puppet Place, we have always defined puppetry as a universal artform, as festival producers we have always tried to push the boundaries of the artform including stop-frame animation, object manipulation and traditional forms  in the puppetry family. How do we now exploit this broad and innovative practice to make sense of our world and ensure puppetry continues to be relevant and vital to future generations?

This Creative Cafe is a space to ask these questions and, maybe, figure out some answers all together.

Rachel McNally has been CEO of Puppet Place since 2014 and co-produces Bristol Festival of Puppetry with Chris Pirie. She is Chair of Puppeteers UK and a member of the Puppetry Development Consortium. She has previously worked as a tour producer with Pickled Image, Full Beam, The Devil’s Violin Company and Shoofly Theatre. To be honest, she’s still a bit freaked out by puppets.


Creative Cafe is curated by the Puppet Place community. The next Creative Cafe will be in April 2017

Places are limited, so please do book early.


Image Green Ginger Slaphead – Demon Barber (where it all started)



Marionettes Dead & Alive with Stephen Mottram

3-5 March (Fri-Sun) 10am-5.30pm

Ages 18+




Movement and Magic For The String Puppet

During this workshop about the manipulation of string puppets, participants will learn how to give uncanny realism to a marionette as it moves on stage by understanding exactly which little details of movement make the audience think the puppet they are watching is alive.

The workshop draws attention to the importance of knowing what and more importantly, how audiences see. As well as being a way to learn about performing with string puppets, it is a good opportunity for puppeteers of all types and other movement artists to re-examine some of the simple things they take for granted in performance.

Practise marionettes will be supplied by Stephen for the three days. This workshop is ideally suited to performers who have some experience of puppetry and puppeteers who are looking to extend their puppetry skills and technique.


Stephen Mottram – Biography

For thirty years, Stephen has been touring the globe with marionette shows for adult audiences. Best known of these are In Suspension, The Seas of Organillo and The Seed Carriers. He also worked on films like The Little Shop of Horrors and Strings. Trained in London and Budapest as a mime, he has a deep interest in communication through movement and spends a lot of time nowadays teaching.


You can find out more about Stephen’s work on his website

Stephen Mottram

Photography by Damiano


Trash Hack with Chris Pirie

25 March (Sat) 10am-5pm

Ages 18+





Make instant puppets out of rubbish.  This workshop in re-purposing industrial and domestic junk is ideal for people who are new to puppetry.

Be prepared to stretch your imagination and dare to fail and build another.

Lunch included.


Chris is Director of Green Ginger UK and Co-Producer of Bristol Festival of Puppetry.