Get Handy in 2020!

Join us as 2020 kicks off for two fun and skill-filled weekends of puppet making:

Jan 25 & 26th Vintage Glove Puppets
Make a fantastic glove puppet using your scraps of vintage fabric to create a fully functioning glove puppet / keep-sake. This step-by-step course leads you through the process of making head and hands, clothing and a brief session on puppet hairdressing to give your puppet it’s own cheeky and beguiling charm.

PLUS New for 2020***
March 28 & 29thSew a Fabulous Rag Puppet
This soft sewn approach to puppet making allows for flexible, easily manipulated puppets capable of expessive movement. Versatile and achievable making suitable for all levels and easy to do at home once you have mastered the basics. A sewing maching will be available along with hand stitching gear!

Both weekends led by artist puppeteer Isobel Smith

Playing with shadows

Join us at Brighton Puppetry School for a weekend of shadow puppetry 26 +27 January 2019.

From the more familiar moving figures to using multiple light sources to create complex moving imagery you will have time to play and explore the potential of this extraordinary genre of puppetry. You will leave the course fired-up and inspired with ideas and techniques to apply to your practice.

Looking forward to working with you.

X Isobel and Brighton Puppetry School

Twinkle Twinkle - Aeroplane - photo by Rosie Powell

BPS Fringe Puppetry Round Up!

It’s that time of year and the Fringe is almost upon us. The city’s about to be enveloped in culture of all shapes and sizes like a glorious, messy, love letter to art.

Here at BPS we wanted to wrap up some of the best puppetry gifts coming to town into one handy package. We really do have a #puppetryscene here in Brighton these days, and the Fringe is a wonderful opportunity to get new inspirations and support one another’s work.

In no particular order (though we’ve separated our list into work for kids , or adults, here’s what we suggest diving in to for some puppetry inspiration this May & June!

For grownups:

Ceci N’est pas de Deux  is definitely not a balletic duet between two dancers… because at least one of them is a puppet. Receiving rave reviews at its fringe debut last year, this Dutch production promises mesmeric dance theatre and a gorgeously grotesque puppet crammed onto the Old Courtroom’s stage. A must see.

Another must on the list is Daisy Jordan’s The Sorrowful Tale of Sleeping Sydney, which has been developing in Brighton over the last two years. Featuring some of the best glove puppetry you’ll see anywhere this festival-time, and a lovingly crafted puppetry world full of gorgeously detailed props and extras, the show brings to life the macabre true story of the Brighton chocolate box murders in the 1870s. Dark, funny, and you get a free chocolate (eat it if you dare)!

Sabotage Theatre have been a big part of the puppetry scene in Brighton for the past couple of years and have played a big part in the development of the School. At the same time, they’ve been creating their own unique show, The Looker, which combines new writing, physical theatre, puppetry and a heartfelt story. If you attended our Make a Short Show showcase at the Marlborough earlier this year you’ll have had a sneak peek at the quality and originality on offer. Having toured Sussex in a horse and cart over the autumn, the show’s setting up camp in the beautiful surroundings of the Speigeltent from May 5th to invite you into what we’re sure will be a thought-provoking and brilliantly theatrical festival experience.

If you like your puppetry more in a televisual and muppet style, A Puppet Named Desire  is bringing some sketchy, puppetry fun to the Warren. Showing that puppets really are the masters of cross-over, the company have previously won the Best Comedy Award at the fringe. It could be very fringey, but the puppets look ace!

Another slice of pure fringe, and one of our guilty pleasures when we’re up in Edinburgh, is the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre, who’ll be taking up residence in the basement at Komedia. Taking the art of sh*t puppetry to new heights, this will be a truly ridiculous, fast paced, manic session of total sock chaos!

Elevating what one audience member described as ‘crapetry’ to real art, Pocket Epics return to the fantastic ONCA gallery for a second year of performances with their unique reimagining of Richard II. Fronted by RSC actor Gregory Gudgeon, this is a close-up, brilliant performance of the king narcissist, here finding extremely apt support from a cast of wonky puppets. It’s dolly waggling par excellence, but extremely dramatically satisfying and a truly unique performance.

Over at our friends The Marlborough, SEX will be taking centre stage with a cabaret evening curated by the lovely Wondering Hands. Complementing the top puppetry in their unique show Sex and Puppets, from which excerpts will be presented, will be new takes on the theme by three other puppetry artists, so an eclectic night is promised. We think it’ll be an evening worth coming out for!

And, speaking of cabaret, special mention must also be made of the screening of Brighton: Symphony of a City, a lovingly made film chronicling some of the Brighton’s unique, iconic sights and sounds, and featuring our very own Miranda in full flow at Punched. One night only at the Unitarian Church, June 1st.

If you prefer your puppetry more classical, the Jiangsu Puppet Troupe arriving at the Sallis Benney will definitely be worth a look. Performing for one show only, there are sure to be some remarkable puppets and puppetry on display from the remarkable Chinese puppetry tradition. Although officially for children, puppet-interested adults will definitely find much to fascinate them here.

Last on my list, for those who’d like a real fringe experience, why not check out this first ever show from a young London puppetry company premiering on the fringe, A Song of Plague. Set in London, 1665, when the plague haunts the streets, it offers a great theme, rich in atmosphere. We have no idea what to expect but it might be worth a punt and could be wonderful! Either way a puppet-y fringe adventure is promised!

For younger audiences:

There’s a wealth of puppetry for children on offer at this year’s festivals, including sterling work by local companies Herringbone Arts and our sister company TouchedTheatre presenting puppetry work and workshops in the community-focused YourPlace strand of the Festival proper.

Twinkle Twinkle features performances from our very own director Darren East, bringing alive the magic of puppetry for very young audiences. Made especially for small people aged 1 – 3 and introducing an adorable puppet puppy, Marty, the show opens the Fringe with a bank holiday weekend of top quality puppetry performances.

Brighton based company, Banyan Tree Theatre bring some much needed cultural diversity to the puppetry sector and their flamboyant, epic tale of Little Wing is coming to the Warren’s big space, which I am confident they are going to fill with fantastic music, dazzling dragons and some great puppetry in this fabulous fantasy.

Another excellent puppeteer coming to town for the Fringe is artist Lori Hopkins, formerly associate at London’s wonderful Little Angel Theatre. Her show, Sourpuss, features a cat almost as loveable as Marty the puppy, and we love the promise of a grumpy cat learning to love the natural world. For 3 – 8 years old (quite a span there), we think this will be a lovely puppet show.

Moving forward in years, Mumblecrust Theatre’s Tale of the Cockatrice is for ages 5+ and won the Children and Family Award at Brighton fringe last year. Its inventive storytelling, inspired by mythical monster the Cockatrice, offers visual storytelling and lots of laughs for family audiences.

So here endeth our top tips for top puppetry on this year’s Fringe: why don’t you share yours with us!

Last Orders for discounted courses

ROLL UP dear puppet peeps – this is your last call for Early Bird Discounts for our fabulous and varied 2017/2018 Workshops and Courses.


Peruse your options and hit the PAYPAL button to secure your place.
The puppets are calling …

Check out our courses here on on DIARY PAGE
Book your place before midnight to qualify for our Early Bird Discount HERE

We’re looking forward to working with you soon.
(here are some pictures from our 2017 Summer School in the meantime:)

2017/18 Puppetry Courses for Adults – booking now with Early Bird DISCOUNTS!

WELCOME to our 2017/18 programme of brilliant puppetry training for adults.  We are really pleased to announce that bookings are now live!

We’ve been working hard behind the scenes to put together an excellent programme for this year that builds on our most popular courses, offers some new adventures and experiments with different formats for sessions to fit around your existing life / work commitments.

New courses include the thrilling Calling all Witches exploring puppetry shamanism and [re]-animation with our very own sorceress, Is Smith; Kickstart Your Puppetry  – a one day crash course guaranteed to get you devising fab new puppetry work; and some themed Making courses – creating Puppet People and Puppet Creatures –  which will bring you a variety of making techniques, materials and styles that will bring your puppetry ideas to 3-dimensional life.

Elsewhere, you get a second chance to investigate Puppetry and Storytelling and Puppetry and Therapy, both sell out new courses last year and 17/18 also returns to some of our most popular and acclaimed courses, including essential core skills session Puppetry Fundamentals; the rich artistic playground of Shadow Worlds and our two unique long-term creating courses – Develop a Short Puppetry Show and Writing with Puppets.

Excited?  We are! And, best of all, there a 10% discount for all courses booked before September 1st.  We look forward to welcoming you to a brilliant BPS puppetry course soon.

PS if you’d like to meet us and chat about any of your plans for next year, don’t forget it our end-of-term show next Thursday July 20th at the Spire and we’d love to see you there!
You can book your tickets here:

Longer courses this term

We know that you love to take part in our intensive weekend courses stuffed with new skills and experiences but have you considered one of our longer term courses as a different way to build your puppetry skills? Series courses which run over 6, 7 or 8 weeks are a chance to spend longer digging into your ideas, consolidating puppetry skills as they grow, and being guided more deeply in your own practice. They also offer more space for you to bring in your own work and ideas.

This term we’re running three course series each tailored to a different needs and areas of interest.

Create a Puppet Show: our much-loved devising course which will work with you to develop, make, rehearse and perform a puppet show of your own design. 8 X Tuesday evenings, from Jan 31st.

Writing for Puppetry: Want to create puppetry stories but not sure where to start?  Spend 6 X Sunday afternoons (from Feb 22nd) exploring the wild potential for creating character, situation, surprises and plot that puppetry offers. Perfect for budding writers, storytellers or all those curious about puppetry.

Develop Your Creative Practice: a brand new creative adventure that jumps off from puppetry into much wider world of artistic exploration. A practical mentoring course concerned with discovering and developing your unique practice and exploring and expressing your visual language. 7 X Thursday evenings from Feb 23rd.

If one (or more!) of these appeals, we hope to see you there!

Feedback? Questions?  Just drop us a line.

A very merry puppety season

Wishing you a festive season filled with light and art! We kicked off our celebrations with a weekend of Elf and Angel making, followed by a Pub(pet) Quiz and mulled wine gathering at the lovely Copperdollar Studios in Kemptown. But if you missed it, don’t worry, there’s still loads of time to make your season puppet-y! We’ll be a running a 12 Days of Puppet-mas series on Facebook with some of our favourite puppet characters and teasers for workshops next term. And remember, a BPS workshop is the perfect gift for the creative in your life. If you’d like know more about our gift vouchers, just drop us an email!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…!

The Indian summer sun is setting, the kids are back at school and it’s time to let yourself out of that box, indulge your creativity and build your skills with some of our fab new courses for Autumn 2016.

This harvest-time brings a wonderful crop of courses  – here’s a little reminder of what’s on offer over the next few weeks…

Puppetry Workout:  a course for everyone who wants to take some dedicated time to improving puppetry skills, working with different puppetry forms or getting to grips with a figure you have waiting at home.  Flex those puppetry muscles, build skills and performing confidence in this welcoming evening course.   Starts Tuesday 4 Oct

Puppets for the Small Stage: what better way to spend your evenings as the nights draw in than in creating your very own unique table-top character, sculpting, sticking and carving your figure into being?  Starts Wednesday September 15th

Writing for Children’s Theatre:  release your inner creator to investigate the how’s and what’s of writing brilliant new work for children from tiny to teen.  Puppetry and much more in this 6-week course starting Sunday 2 October 2nd

Puppetry for Artists: a magical journey into the ways puppetry skills can inform, inspire and energise your artistic practice. For visual creators of every kind, shy puppeteers and the creatively curious October 8 & 9.

Producing Small Scale Theatre:  Get to grips with the mechanics of moving your work from idea all the way to (amazed) audience!   A 1-day crash course in everything you need to know about producing brilliant puppet (and other) theatre. October 1

Puppetry Fundmentals: Our original and best introduction to core puppetry performance skills.   Enough said!  September 24th & 25th

We hope there’s something tasty here to sink your teeth into!

See you very soon.


The new term is fast approaching and so the last of our summer spotlight sessions is here to shine a light on the very popular and unique course – Puppetry for Artists.
Puppetry is a unique and powerful art form that brings together several different disciplines including craft working, artistic visioning, story, focus and animation.
This is not a puppet making course, but rather a course where you will use use puppetry to make artistic discovery. Using the techniques of puppetry such as discovering story, playing with scale, and finding the life hidden in the unique qualities of different materials, you will be guided to create mini worlds, material stories or to conjure a visual feast,  adventuring into the artistic world of puppetry and playing with processes that interest you creatively.
Makers, reluctant performers, shy creatives and non-puppet people are warmly welcome, as well as those who define themselves, in whatever way, as artists.
This very special weekend is an original course created by artist Isobel Smith and offers new insight and inspiration through the art of puppetry.

Spotlight on… Business

So who’s up for learning about some of the business end of the, er, business, to kickstart the new term?

This week’s spotlight is on our Producing Small Scale Theatre course on October 1st. This one-day intensive will be a fun and packed day guaranteed to leave you confident in your understanding of core theatre business: selling your work, the practicalities of getting new shows to the stage, money, touring, and masses more.

As freelancers, we all need to be business people, and this session is designed to share  those essential skills for bringing your work to quality reality on stage.  All of the money, people and marketing matters that make your work practically possible, professional and visible to the public.

We’ll explore some of the specific issues around producing new puppetry as well as the universal skills and knowledge needed to make new theatre happen successfully.

You’ll leave inspired and with the savvy to get your work in front of packed audiences.

See you there!

Beccy, Is & Darren