We’re Back! 2 puppeteers and a baby at Settle Stories

As you know, from my previous post, I have been very busy recently with my pregnancy and then looking after baby Anthony.

Well, Anthony has passed his first birthday and it’s back to work again for me.

Settle Stories (an excellent storytelling festival, local to us) took place just a few days after the end of my maternity leave so we decided to visit the “Artists Hangout” at the Bell tent and catch up with some other artists, and the festival organisers to see if there were opportunities to be involved in the future.

We met some very interesting people – including Hassan El Geretly, (artistic director of El Warsha Theatre Company from Egypt) and a lady called Nicky – a storyteller based in Manchester.  We also met up with a painting teacher, a landscape photographer/artist, some actors and a small number of the actual performers from the festival itself.  These included Darius Nash and Tamar Eluned Williams, who were performing Stories for the Silver Tree.  Darius was also leading a clowning workshop at the festival.  Here is their Youtube video below for this performance:

The festival organisers Sita Brand and Charles Tyrer were also there and spoke about their plans for developing longer term relationships with artists at the festival.  This, they hoped, would allow artists to get to know each other and the people and environment of Settle.

After the meeting, we went into the “Dungeons & Dragons” cafe in the Friends Meeting House which was really wonderful – decorated with cobwebs and a handmade dragon on the wall.  All of the refreshments were themed and the helpers were all in costume.  Not only that but on each table there was a little handmade Dungeons & Dragons game with little tiddly-winks for counters so you could have a game with your refreshments!

Unfortunately, it was a rainy day but this did not seem to put off the dauntless British punters: the cafes and streets were certainly crowded at lunchtime!  After our lunch we decided to have a go (in what time we had left) at the geo-caching story trail.  We successfully found one cache in the vicinity of the Friends Meeting House, (I’m not allowed to say where or it will spoil it for other people) and tried our hardest to find another one somewhere near the old signal box at Settle train station but neither Tim or myself had any luck.

We did find that the Friends of Settle and Carlisle Railway had volunteers showing off the restored old signal box and letting people have a go pulling the levers and making the lights show and the bells sound.  Tim and myself took it in turns to hunt for caches with Anthony at ground level and go up to the signal box.  We even got a commemorative certificate to show we’d had a go at operating the signals!

It would have been nice to have had time to sample more of the shows and workshops but we did have a thoroughly enjoyable and relaxing time while we were there.  I believe the Listening Gallery is a permanent installation so we’ll be able to pop back and visit that on another occasion.


I’m back doing shadow puppet shows and workshops in primary schools again, now that my maternity leave is over.  These workshops fit with the topics of light and shadow and traditional tales, making them ideal for the primary curriculum. These workshops involve a short show by me (“Jabberwocky“, “Edward Lear’s Nonsense” or “The Interrupted Wedding“) followed by the children making their own puppets and putting on their own shows in groups.  If you would like me to come and work with your school please CONTACT ME for more information and to book 🙂


We are also available for street theatre walkabouts featuring either of the Shadow Puppet Suitcase shows (“Jabberwocky” & “Edward Lear’s Nonsense“) and the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party walkabout show.

Edward Lear’s Nonsense is the perfect show for food festivals.  The suitcase shows are also perfect for Christmas entertainment or for a festival of light and I have costumes to fit all of these occasions.

Don’t hesitate to contact me to book or for more information.


We’re producing a new larger-scale shadow puppet show, suitable for large audiences in schools and other indoor venues.  It’s early days for the project but I can reveal that it’s based on the traditional Japanese Fairy Tale “The Magic Ear”.  The show has an environmental theme and can include an accompanying junk percussion workshop.

We’re taking bookings for Autumn this year and 2019.  Email me here if you’d like to know more.  I’ll be blogging about the project in detail soon – keep your eyes peeled!


Rough Magic Theatre’s New Edward Lear Picture Book

Edward Lear Books at Bentham Christmas ShoppingSome time ago I was lucky enough to receive a visit from Meg Amsden  of Nutmeg Puppet Company (who was chair of BrUNIMA at the time).

Meg is a good friend of Ali Clough of Pioneer Projects who, like myself, is a resident of High Bentham and I had invited her to come and see my new Shadow Suitcase show “Edward Lear’s Nonsense” while she was up here visiting Ali.  Meg was also keen to see our Liquorice toy theatre and Hansel & Gretel set/characters and to hear more about Harry Oudekerk’s Vischmarkt Papierentheater Festival in the Netherlands: a festival that we recently attended.  You can see lots of previous blog posts about the making of the Hansel & Gretel show if you search through (click HERE for earliest H&G post).

Meg made lots of lovely comments on the Edward Lear show and also suggested that the puppets could be used to make an accompanying picture book that I could sell.  This idea has been at the back of my mind as a project for “when I get round to it” and finally at the end of last year I did it.

book cover

I made about 10 books of Edward Lear’s poem “The New Vestments” and scanned the shadow puppets to create the illustrations for the book.  I did not use the name of the poem for the title of the show because “vestments” is an old fashioned and confusing word that we tend not to use much these days.  The idea was that I would be able to sell the books to people when I am performing the show but I decided to try selling them at one of Bentham’s late night Christmas Shopping events (organised by We Are Bentham ).  I brought the shadow theatre along with me just for display purposes to explain where the illustrations had come from.  I am happy to say that for this trial run I sold every single copy and my display copy as well!  Thank-you Bentham folks!

If you would like to book my “Edward Lear’s Nonsense” shadow puppet show or “Hansel & Gretel” Toy theatre show don’t hesitate to get in touch.  CLICK HERE to contact me.