We talked about the importance of training - whether formal training is necessary or whether it’s most important to explore the specific relationship between the puppet and performer. Some folks reported conversations from other sessions which emphasised the importance of formal training; others pointed out that there are many ways to learn what you need to know.

Other sessions questioned whether our goal should be to learn existing crafts and skills, or to invent new ideas and methods? It can be very useful to know the rules so that you can break them intentionally; on the other hand, completely new and off-the-wall ideas can emerge when practitioners are free from the “proper way” of doing things.

One woman who has a long history with puppetry (sorry, I didn’t catch your name) has observed that many people come to puppetry around age 26, having already trained in acting, dance, or fine art. This training can be an excellent foundation for specialised puppetry training with short courses or workshops.

“3 years training, 3 years practice, then you’re employable.”

She continued that we should consider what is most interesting for us about puppetry. For fine artists, it is often about making beautiful materials move. For movers, it’s about making an object dance. For actors, it’s about creating emotion. What is it for you that makes puppetry so alive?

Some resources we discussed (aka my “google this” list)

10 week introductory course at Little Angel Theatre (and other courses)

London School of Puppetry (actually in Yorkshire)

Suspense Festival

Puppet Centre Trust

Puppet Place Bristol

Puppeteers UK

Norwich Puppet Theatre

3 year BA in puppetry at Central School of Speech and Drama

Central also has a library of puppetry materials including performance DVDs. This is open to practitioners by appointment. (Special recommendation: Jan Svankmajer’s work.)

“Just email people. They’re really nice.”

Youtube videos

We also talked about the aesthetic possibilities for new productions, including my solo show. Things to consider: crafted puppets vs found/everyday objects? What type of puppet: glove, rod, marionette, humanette, shadow? Masks? What about the size of the puppets? Do I want them to be static, on the floor, or move around the space?

Thank you to everyone who came to talk! It was lovely to meet you all.

More resources are coming soon, out of this D&D event. Look for session reports on a new Puppetry Union, and a Puppet Library.