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Puppetry for Actors

London Workshop 14th-18th July

10am - 5pm daily



Sparkle and Dark Theatre Company are running a week long intensive puppetry workshop aimed at actors who want to learn how to puppeteer.


The workshop will be run by company directors Louisa Ashton and Shelley Knowles – Dixon. You don’t need any prior experience in puppetry, just a willingness to learn.


Sparkle and Dark have been developing their own style of training and performance over the last 5 years. We regularly cast actors with little or no puppeteering experience and train them to be representatives of our acclaimed and respected brand of puppetry. This is how we work, which is why we have designed a workshop specifically for actors.



"... not so much a puppet show as a puppet masterclass'  The Independent  2013

The workshop will look at:


  • Puppetry principles

    • We will explore the essential principles that are needed to bring any puppet to life.


  • Object and food puppetry

    • Creation and destruction – exploring the limits and possibilities of inanimate objects.


  • Building a character for a puppet

    • We will bring a selection of texts and extracts to look at, from which to build a character (or you can bring your own). We will then learn how to project that character into the puppet.


  • Styles of puppetry we will explore:

    • Multi puppeteer styles i.e. Bunraku and life sized half worn puppets.

    • Muppet style

    • Table top

    • Ensemble object puppetry


  • The secrets of shadow

    • We will explore some basic shadow techniques and principles.


  • Presentation

    • We will aim to devise small performances in groups, using our characters and the skills we have learnt over the week and present them to each other.


If you would like to take part in this workshop, please apply by emailing us:

  •  A short description of your previous experience as an actor/performer

  • Tell us why you want to take part in this workshop

  • Give us one or two sentences explaining what you're most passionate about in your life! Whether it's your cat or skateboarding, just put down a few words about what is that gets you out of bed in the morning.  This is just to help us learn a little more about you.


Email us at with subject heading 'Puppetry for Actors workshop' followed by your name.


The closing date is 5pm on the 9th of July and we will be letting people know by the 10th July.



Praise for Sparkle and Dark’s puppetry:









 ‘The two puppeteers, Nicholas Halliwell and Louisa Ashton, extract a range of gestures and emotions that’s nothing short of extraordinary.  At one point Roger sinks in his chair in a kind of compassionate resignation, and I don’t think any living man could have captured that moment any more eloquently.’

Fringe Guru 2013 (Killing Roger)

"Roger the puppet takes on a life of his own and brings a touching humanity to a controversial subject."

The  Evening Standard

(Killing Roger)

‘The magnificent Roger puppet itself is something more, and definitely not less, than human.’

Whats on Stage 2014

(Killing Roger)



"Ethereally beautiful puppetry... innocent and gorgeous, a must see."

Broadway Baby

(The Girl With No Heart)



"The puppetry and ensemble playing is
superb… this is one of the very best shows out there.”

Winner of Best Family Show - Buxton Review

(The Clock Master)



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