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Puppet Up!

Blackpool's Festival of Puppetry and Visual Theatre

For a .pdf brochure, click here

Since 1997, Rachel Riggs of DNA has been artistic programmer of this lively street arts and theatre event produced by Blackpool Bids, in partnership with the Grundy Art Gallery, the Grand Theatre, Blackpool Education and the Town Centre partnership.

A yearly community festival incorporating a parade of hundreds of puppets created in local schools especially for the event mixed in with bands and giant puppets and figures from professional companies, the weekend programme of studio theatre performances and free shows on the street makes this an exciting and vibrant event for the local Blackpool residents to enjoy and participate in as well as a popular weekend for visitors and shoppers.

The Grand Parade - led by Speekee! a great way for children to learn Spanish on DVD

Puppet Up! 2007 - May 18th, 19th and 20th

Events listing

Friday 18th May - Grand Theatre Studio 6:30pm

"Want" by Thingumajig Theatre

A monkey looks for a Messiah, a mother tries to keep pace with her voracious child, a flute-player has the wind taken out of him by today's headlines. At times hilarious, at times heart-breaking but always strangely entertaining, 'Want' explores the distance between what we want and what we get. Inspired by Topeng Pajegon, a Balinese tradition of solo mask performance, WANT is told through masks, puppets, clowning, live music, and a highly emotive sock monkey.

For tickets call Box Office on 01253 290190

Saturday 19 May - Grand Theatre Studio 11.00am and 2pm

"Ball Pond Bobby" by DNA

There's a trip to the Ball Pond! Hip Hip Hooray! Off we go to tumble and play!

Bobby's trip to the Ball pond takes us into another world as we dive
deep down into a child's imagination...through the universe of lost socks, hidden games & magic sweets. We swim through spheres and encounter a universe of mislaid toys, goldfish & balloons.

Through DNA's unique style of skilful puppetry, visual theatre, dance choreography, live song & a specially composed soundtrack, this combination of originally-devised performance and special guided activities explores circular movement and the joy of play!

DNA has developed this special event for 2-5 year olds, drawn from research with young children & play

Sunday 20 May Grand Theatre Studio - 11.00am and 2.00pm

"The Man Who Planted Trees" by Puppet State Theatre Company, Edinburgh

Performers Richard Medrington and Rick Conte make an unlikely yet effervescent double act. Medrington, the straight man, narrates a beautiful, understated version of Jean Giono’s famous story- first published in Vogue in 1954- about a shepherd called Elzeard Bouffier who took it upon himself to grow a forest in an area of the French Alps which had previously lain barren. Conte, meanwhile, gives voice to a hugely likeable puppet called Dog, who, in a nicely-judged bit of preamble, enthusiastically agrees to play the part of Elzeard’s dog in the story.

The drama is peppered with a host of simple but effective touches, including the wafting of smells into the audience at appropriate intervals. And for all the laughs to be had along the way, the ending when it comes, is genuinely touching.


A packed programme of free, open access street shows starts from 11am on Saturday and Sunday MAy 19th and 20th 2007 at various town centre sites featuring;

Chris Topper's Puppets - with his unique style and a special show of 'Little Red Riding Hood'

Creature Feature with 'The Gorillas' - uncannily lifelike costumes and performances making everyone wonder whether they are real or not!

Punch and Judy from Richard Coombes - the classic street puppet show from an accomplished professor whose reputation as a puppeteer spans international film and television!

Hoodwink with 'Tock Tick' - As mice take over the clocktower, can time be saved with ladders, dancing flowers, levitation and time flying in delight. A large scale performance to charm and enthrall all ages.

The Wright Stuff with 'Sideshow Buzz' - He's out and about and ready to ask anything, anywhere, anyhow. He's the zany quiz show compere with his finger on the button. Will you be a millionaire or the weakest link?

Little Big Top Theatre with 'The Sunflower Show' - A gardener opens the lid of her whellbarrow to reveal a world where seeds grow into the most extraordinary plants and battle with slugs and other mischievous garden pests for survival.

Rough Magic Theatre with a walkabout shadow booth show

Frolicked with 'Never Too Old to Busk' - A grandpa with an undeniable musical talent and a feisty grandma battle it out for your attention and affections. A love story with a difference.

Puppets A Go Go! - A world of visual theatre
and puppetry under canvas.

"DNA is a good example of a contemporary company that moves easily from work aimed at children to work aimed at a general theatre audience to adult cabaret." - Total Theatre Magazine

This weatherproof marquee was an opportunity to showcase innovative performances of puppetry and visual theatre which are designed for outdoors, but are improved by an enclosure.

This project allowed companies to reach out to new audiences by taking work to them where they live, shop and play. In a festival environment, 'Puppets a Go Go!' provided a focus for work robust enough to work on the street, while also allowing the delicacy of working with shadows light materials or poignant subject matter to be appreciated without being compromised by wind, rain and external visual distraction.

Harrow Children's Festival
Puss in Boots shows.

Gloucester Festival 2006
Chicken Licken and Puss in Boots shows and workshops

Nottingham Riverside Festival - Chicken Licken and Puss in Boots shows and workshops PLUS early evening cabaret.

The Green Man festival - Chicken Licken and Puss in Boots shows and workshops PLUS Barnaby Bear-with-Me

Glastonbury Festival - activities from 10am to 8pm with guest performances from The Wright Stuff, Pickled image and Tanit Teatro

Mouth of The Tyne Festival - Baba Yaga shows and workshops

Harrow Children's Festival - Chicken Licken shows and workshops

Stockton International Riverside Festival - Baba Yaga and Chicken Licken shows and workshops

The Green Man Festival - Chicken Licken and Baba Yaga shows and workshops

We no longer offer Puppets A Go Go!, but please enjoy the records of a fabulous few years in our outdoor festivals provision.

Workshop Information

Workshop Description

Booking Details

Ages Suitable for festivals and events - family friendly
Running time minimum one day event, more suitable for events of two days or more
Suitable venues best on soft ground as marquee is staked to the ground. Suitable for hard standing with support from festival.
Technical information click here
Availability no longer available
Contact Info@DynamicNewAnimation.co.uk


Rachel Riggs' behind-the-scenes film of one of our 'Puppets A Go Go!' gigs. Fun times at the Green Man festival 2008 with all our crew, familly and friends. Music by Sian de Lier and Paul Sherwood - who won the prize for the best buskers that year!

All text and images © Dynamic New Animation 2005